Carter-Baker Recommendations Only Partially Met on Goals of “Access, Accuracy, and Accountability” in Voting

Common Cause supports some of the recommendations released today by the Commission on Federal Election Reform, while opposing others, such as the national ID requirement.

Common Cause strongly backs the recommendation for independent and nonpartisan election administration, and is pleased that the panel recognized the need for a voter-verified paper audit trail. Voters’ confidence in the fairness of our voting system has been badly shaken by the specter of partisan elected and appointed officials making critical decisions about voting and by the introduction of unreliable electronic voting machines.

However, Common Cause is deeply disappointed that the commission placed great significance on a proposal for sweeping national ID requirements that would, in our view, erect an unnecessary barrier to voting for millions of Americans.

“The recommendations call for extensive distribution of these identification documents, but since distribution will be in the hands of state and local authorities with little money and a possible lack of incentive, we believe such requirements will result in widespread disenfranchisement,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. “This provision would limit access to the ballot instead of increasing it.”

In addition, while calling one section “Expanding Access to Elections” and deploring the low level of voter turnout in this country, the commission’s recommendations raise concerns and place restrictions on non-governmental voter registration drives. “The commission should have instead recommended ways to improve elections officials’ own registration efforts while encouraging more cooperation with – not obstruction of – nongovernmental registration drives,” Pingree said.

The work of reforming our election system is far from finished. Common Cause appreciates the efforts of the commission and will continue to work in Congress and the states to ensure that our election system meets the goals of access, accuracy, and accountability.

A full statement by Common Cause President Chellie Pingree can be found by clicking here.