President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order Thursday establishing a Presidential Commission to deal with “election administration” that critics say is an attempt to nationalize the country’s elections for partisan advantage.
The Executive Order states the Commission “shall identify best practices and otherwise make recommendations to promote the efficient administration of elections in order to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots without undue delay.”
The Commission will focus on polling places, how better to train and recruit poll workers, managing voter rolls and poll books, voting machines, ballot simplicity, English proficiency, and absentee ballots. The states–not the federal government–traditionally have responsibility over such matters.
Obama will appoint no more than nine members to the Commission and appointees will be drawn from among individuals with “knowledge about or experience in the administration of State or local elections, as well as representatives of successful customer service-oriented businesses, and any other individuals with knowledge or experience determined by the President to be of value to the Commission.”
Election law expert and former Department of Justice official J. Christian Adams labeled such a Commission a “solution in search of a problem.”
The President has previously cited the supposed long lines from last November’s election as the main reason for voting reforms. Adams responded that many of these stories are of people who waited hours in line during early voting, not on Election Day. Had they voted on Election Day, they would have had minimal wait times in nearly every precinct throughout the country.
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