President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order today, March 28, which will set up the Presidential Commission of Election Administration.
The Commission will consist of 9 members appointed by the President and have two co-chairs. Those appointed will have experience and or knowledge of “Federal, State or local elections”.
“The Commission shall be composed of not more than nine members appointed by the President. The members shall be drawn from among distinguished 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.”The Commission will be making recommendations that will “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 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, and to improve the experience of voters facing other obstacles in casting their ballots, such as members of the military, overseas voters, voters with disabilities, and voters with limited English proficiency.”The Commission will be holding public meetings with Federal, State and local officials. The commission will consider the following:
• The number, location, management, operation, and design of polling places
• The training, recruitment, and number of poll workers
• Voting accessibility for uniformed and overseas voters
• The efficient management of voter rolls and poll books
• Voting machine capacity and technology
• Ballot simplicity and voter education
• Voting accessibility for individuals with disabilities, limited English proficiency, and other special needs
• Management of issuing and processing provisional ballots in the polling place on Election Day
• The issues presented by the administration of absentee ballot programs
• The adequacy of contingency plans for natural disasters and other emergencies that may disrupt elections
In the months leading up to the November 2012 General Election, several States passed legislation that made it harder for people to vote. Laws were passed that cut early voting hours, new voter ID laws that were convoluted, the purging of voter rolls of voters who voted for a particular party and limiting the number of electronic voting machines in some districts which caused long lines and waits of up to 9 hours. These are just a few of the voter suppression laws passed in some States.
These suppression laws and several others will be investigated by the Commission.