President's Voting Commission May Be a Retread

Wednesday, 13 Feb 2013 01:11 PM

By Cyrus Afzali

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President Barack Obama's plan to create a new commission to investigate voting problems across the country could turn out to be a retread of an existing panel that was established in 2002 to do the same thing.

According to Politico, the bipartisan Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established to develop voluntary voting guidelines and to serve as a national clearinghouse on information and problems dealing with election issues.

But if the EAC's record is any guide, the president's new panel could have a difficult time fulfilling its mission.

The four-member commission, for example, has been plagued with so many problems and complaints, the White House and Congress no longer bother to fill commissioner vacancies when they become available. In fact, the commission has had no commissioners since 2011, due in part to allegations that it has altered reports, including one to make it appear that voter fraud is more widespread than it actually is.

The panel also was forced to settle a lawsuit from a job applicant who claimed he was rejected because he belonged to the Republican Party.

Those complaints may be enough to turn some lawmakers off to the president's idea of creating yet another commission, headed jointly by one Republican and one Democrat, to examine why hundreds of thousands of voters never got a chance to cast ballots in Florida and other states last year because of long voting lines.

But according to Politico, some in Congress are resisting the proposal because they simply believe that election or voting problems should be resolved by the states and not the federal government.

"There is not a Washington one-size-fits-all solution that will solve Florida’s, or any other state’s, problems," Michigan Republican Candice Miller, who chairs the Committee on House Administration, said in a statement on Obama's plan.

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