At the same moment watchdogs are calling out a new White House panel’s massive request for voters’ personal data, Congress is trying to slash funding for a small bipartisan agency that’s supposed to improve the way elections run. The notation, buried at the bottom of page 69 of the House Financial Services Appropriation Bill for spending in Fiscal Year 2018, would yank the entire $4 million budget of the Election Assistance Commission. The EAC was created in 2002 thanks to the Help America Vote Act, which Congress passed “to make sweeping reforms to the nation’s voting process.” The commission’s job includes certifying the hardware and software used to conduct elections.
Advocates say the timing couldn’t be worse to get rid of the agency, which on Thursday released a major study of voting in the 2016 election.
Brenda Wright, vice president for policy and legal strategies for the public policy group Demos, said in a phone interview.
“That seems particularly important right now when we’ve been looking at allegations of hostile foreign governments hacking our voting systems,” Wright said. “To eliminate the role of the EAC right at this time seems particularly misguided.”