• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • We Already Have an Election Commission—And Obama Has Ignored It

    President Obama talked about voting rights in the State of the Union address, claiming we are “betraying our ideals” when any American has to “wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot.” He announced a “nonpartisan commission to improve the voting experience in America.”

    While there may have been some Americans who waited for long periods to vote in 2012, the vast majority did not. A recent study of the 2012 election reported that the average wait time nationally was only 14 minutes.

    And in fact, we already have a federal bipartisan election commission. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission was established in 2002 by the Help America Vote Act. It was tasked with recommending “best practices” in election administration to the states. But it is, in essence, a non-functioning agency: The seats of the four commissioners who run the agency have sat empty for a long time (they are supposed to be filled by the President), and the top two career slots, the general counsel and the staff director, also sit empty. So now President Obama wants to establish yet another election commission, bypassing the one we already have that has been idle—due to a lack of staffing that he is largely responsible for.

    We also had an election reform commission back in 2005, the Baker–Carter Commission, whose findings were largely ignored. It is especially hard to have confidence in any commission Obama might appoint, given that his attorney general has tried to stop state election reform efforts like voter ID intended to improve the security and integrity of the election process.

    Obama’s commission may just be a stalking horse to implement liberals’ latest partisan fantasies of automatic and election day voter registration—so-called reforms that will stifle real improvements and endanger the integrity of our elections.

    Hans von Spakovsky is author with John Fund of Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.