The Aftermath of House Resolution 634,
The Election Assistance Commission Termination Act, and the Future of the EAC
By Genya Coulter, Twitter Goddess and Social Media Liaison at U.S. Vote Foundation
On February 7, 2017, the Committee on House Administration voted 6-3 in favor of dismantling the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC). This vote was not without controversy, since the EAC was created in 2002 to serve as the lone bipartisan federal oversight panel for state run elections.
The EAC provides testing and certification for multiple voting technologies with the cooperation of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), determines grants and funding for election administration, standards for assisting disabled voters, updates voting machine technology, guides state and local election administrators with any number of election and voting matters, establishes “best practices” for states and counties to build upon, gathers data for government and public use, and perhaps most importantly, maintains voter rolls.
When the Committee on House Administration announced their vote, many election administrators and voting rights advocates quickly noted that without the EAC, they are without a designated federal body to certify voting equipment. Many recent groundbreaking innovations including electronic poll books, expanded Vote-By-Mail, automatic voter registration, increased access for the disabled, and others, would languish without consistent communication and guidance from the Commission.