Last night I shared my thoughts on the announced new presidential commission on election reform. Here are a other reactions:
Doug Chapin: “In one way, the decision to appoint a new Commission is a little puzzling, given the existence of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission; however, given the political limbo facing the EAC, the Administration may have decided that bypassing the appointment process via executive order was a way to get started on the process sooner than later. The choices to co-chair the Commission are very encouraging. Ben Ginsberg and Bob Bauer, while fierce advocates for their parties’ interests, have a long history of cooperation with one another on projects in this field, including attempts to help the nation’s judges bring some order to the often-messy process of election litigation. Hopefully, this will encourage policymakers on both sides of the aisle to look past what Election Law Blog’s Rick Hasen calls ‘the voting wars’ and identify some solutions that can garner bipartisan support.”
Josh Douglas: “Several experts in the voting rights world have expressed concern that Obama is not going far enough to reform our election system…I disagree. Election law is an area in which partisan motivations necessarily infiltrate any discussion of reforming our system. It is therefore virtually impossible to effectuate widespread change on a bipartisan basis without first looking for smaller areas of compromise. Small victories can lead to big victories. Having Democrats and Republicans working together for more minor solutions can lay the foundation for the harder questions.”
League of Women Voters: “[W]e were thus surprised and disappointed that the President did not suggest bold action to ensure that every American citizen can exercise the right to vote. Setting up a commission is not a bold step; it is business as usual. The President could have done much better by pointing to real solutions like that in legislation already introduced on Capitol Hill to require early voting, set limits on waiting times, provide for portable voter registration and set up secure online voter registration”
The Nation: “For over two decades, Ginsberg has been a top lawyer for the Republican Party—the same party, you may recall, that has led the effort to restrict voting rights of late. Ginsberg helped lead the 2000 recall effort for George W. Bush. He was forced to resign from the Bush campaign in 2004 after it was revealed that he was also advising the vile Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. In 2006, Ginsberg said, ‘Just like really with the Voting Rights Act, Republicans have some fundamental philosophical difficulties with the whole notion of Equal Protection.’ And in 2012, he was counsel to the Romney campaign when it absurdly claimed that the Obama campaign was trying to suppress military voters by pushing for early voting for all Ohioans. Does that sound like the kind of guy you want leading a “non-partisan” voting commission?”
National Review: “In any event, it is local governments that run polling places, hire precinct workers, and decide how many voting machines and registered voters to place in every polling site. Those decisions determine how long lines are on voting day. The vast majority of election officials do a good job at this, as demonstrated by the average wait time. Those who don’t tend to be in large urban areas — the cities controlled by the president’s own party — and they simply need to do a better job and put more resources into the administration of their elections. There is no mystery about how to do this, and the last thing we need is another federal commission led by campaign lawyers micromanaging elections and imposing one-size-fits-all policies on the entire country. Local election problems don’t need to be federalized.”
Yeah, about what you’d expect.