Saturday, May 25, 2013

Presidential Commission on Election Administration Launched

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration established by President Obama after problematic 2012 elections when online this week at  Obama established the commission by executive order on March 28, "to identify best practices in election administration and to make recommendations to improve the voting experience." The co-chairs of the commission are Robert Bauer, a general counsel for the Obama campaign, and Benjamin Ginsberg, a national counsel to the Romney campaign.  First up on the new website is the following press release:
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2013 — The Presidential Commission on Election Administration was officially launched today, following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union pledge to identify non-partisan ways to shorten lines at polling places, promote the efficient conduct of elections, and provide better access to the polls for all voters.

The 10-member Commission will submit a final report to the President within six months of its first public meeting, which is expected to be held in Washington in June. Headed by Co-Chairs Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg, the Commissioners are experts in election administration, policy and procedures, or leaders from customer service-oriented businesses and industry.

“The President’s expectation is clear,” said Co-Chair Bob Bauer, who served President Obama as White House counsel from December 2009until 2011, and as General Counsel to the President’s re-election committee and to the Democratic National Committee. “The Commission is charged with developing recommendations based on the best information available for administrative practices that afford voters the opportunity to cast ballots without undue delay and improve their overall experience.”

“Waiting in line and facing other unnecessary obstacles to voting is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” said Co-Chair Ben Ginsberg, who served as national counsel to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaigns in2000 and 2004, and as national counsel to the Romney for President campaigns in 2008 and 2012. “This effort is aimed at assisting state and local election officials in their ongoing work to improve the voter experience under existing election laws. With extensive input from the public and through the broad knowledge and experience each Commissioner brings to the table, we hope to make a contribution to the hard work on improving election administration in which election officials are continuously engaged.”

The Commission was created by Executive Order 13639, Establishment of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. Commissioners were appointed by the President. They are:
  • Robert F. Bauer, Co-Chair and member – Partner, Perkins Coie LLP
  • Benjamin L. Ginsberg, Co-Chair and Member – Partner, Patton Boggs LLP
  • Brian Britton, Member – Vice President, Global Park Operations and Planning at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
  • Joe Echevarria, Member – Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte LLP
  • Trey Grayson, Member – Director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Larry Lomax, Member – Clark County (Nevada) Registrar
  • Michele Coleman Mayes, Member – Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the New York Public Library
  • Ann McGeehan, Member – Assistant General Counsel of the Texas County and District Retirement System
  • Tammy Patrick, Member – Federal Compliance Officer for the Maricopa County (Arizona) Elections Department
  • Christopher Thomas, Member – Director of Elections in the Michigan Department of State
Nathaniel Persily will serve as Senior Research Director for the Commission. He is the Beekman Professor of Law and Political Science at Columbia Law School, and as of July 1, 2013, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

The Commission was created under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, with staff and support services provided by the U.S. General Services Administration. The Commission will be disbanded 30 days after it presents its final report to the President.

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