Presidential Commission on Election Administration Releases Final Report

Co-chairs Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg, of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, will speak at this week’s Eighth Annual Voting and Elections Summit 2014. The Commission’s report, released last week, sets forth a succinct and pertinent set of findings and recommendations for improving the voting process and all that’s behind it.

Information and research from Overseas Vote Foundation on overseas and military voting is featured in the report on page 61, highlighting the continued non-uniformity of services for overseas and military voters across state websites.

A welcome recommendation is that the commonly used registration/ballot request form (FPCA) of overseas and military voters, and the emergency write-in ballot (FWAB) should be recognized in a similar way by all states. The report states that, “Because the FWAB and FPCA were both intended to enable voter registration by military and overseas voters, states should recognize them, at a minimum, as voter registration applications akin to those filed by other voters.”

Overall the report has outstanding coverage of current and relevant problems plaguing the US elections landscape. What it does so remarkably well is turn a long list of chronic issues into proposed and actionable solutions.

The report also recommends that no voter should have to stand in line more than 30 minutes. To achieve this goal, the Commission recommends that states consider implementing vote centers, test election materials for plain language, and expand opportunities for voting prior to Election Day, but without reducing resources on Election Day itself. The report strongly suggests that voter registration databases be cross-checked both within and across states and that online absentee voting services allow for tracking of the ballot by the voter.