Despite rampant concerns on both the right and left about the integrity of the election, we seem to have dodged a bullet on Nov. 7, at least on the presidential level. There were no serious problems reported — no hanging chads, endless recounts or credible evidence of widespread dirty tricks — and 97 percent of voters said they had no problems voting this year, aside from waiting in lines. It’s lucky that was the case, because the federal commission tasked with making elections function better has been stymied by partisan infighting that has left it with zero commissioners, with Republicans refusing to appoint new ones and blocking Democrats from doing the same.
Congress created the U.S. Election Assistance Commission with the passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which allocated over $3 billion to help states improve their election administration and enacted a number of reforms aimed at preventing another debacle like the presidential election of 2000. The act passed with rare and overwhelming bipartisan support — the House voted 357-48 in favor and the Senate 92-2 — but the honeymoon didn’t last long and the commission soon fell victim to the partisan bickering that has hamstrung the Federal Election Commission.
With four commissioners, two from each party, the body is tasked with “adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration,” according to the commission. Along with other functions, the EAC is basically supposed to help set standards and find best practices for a county whose elections are governed by a convoluted patchwork of municipal, county and state election agencies and laws.
It’s a noble and useful purpose, but the commission has operated without any of its four commissioners for over a year and experts on both sides of the aisle agree it’s broken.
“It’s a national embarrassment that this agency, whose only mission is to provide information, doesn’t have a single commissioner,” Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, told Roll Call’s Amanda Becker in an excellent story published before the election.
Full Article: The election commission with no commissioners – Salon.com.