Commission Delivers Bipartisan Blueprint for Upgrading Elections

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  • Dale Eisman

President Obama’s Commission on Election Administration has given the White House, Congress and state leaders a much-needed blueprint for repairing and modernizing the broken machinery of our elections, Common Cause said today.

“As state legislatures convene across the country this winter and spring, action on the commission’s suggestions should be a top priority,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause’s senior vice president for strategy and programs. “Congress and the Obama administration meanwhile, should provide funds to help states upgrade their voting systems and should act to rejuvenate the federal Election Assistance Commission, which is supposed to set national standards for voting machines.

“Quick action is critical,” Hobert Flynn added. “Across the country, there are thousands of precincts with voting machines that are outmoded and in danger of breaking down. Obtaining and maintaining reliable machines are essential if we’re to realize the commission’s objective of limiting voting wait times to 30 minutes or less.”

The commission’s report also documents continuing problems with state and federal efforts to facilitate voting by military members and other Americans living overseas and calls for increased use of online registration. And it highlights the continuing failure of many state and local election officials in the 8,000 voting jurisdictions across America to meet legal requirements that they provide foreign-language ballots to voters who do not speak English.

“While some of the commission’s recommendations require legislative action and appropriations, state and local election officials should act on others on their own initiative,” Hobert Flynn said. “For example, voting locations often can be better organized, and sample ballots printed more clearly and distributed earlier without added costs. All that’s needed is the will to act.

“The most encouraging thing about this report is that Democrats and Republicans on the commission were able to put aside partisanship and agree on common sense suggestions to streamline the voting process and ensure that ballots are counted as cast,” Hobert Flynn added. “We’re crossing our fingers and hoping the President, Congress and state legislatures across the country can do the same.”


Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest, and accountable government that works for the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard.