Michael Wines for the NYT:
The federal Election Assistance Commission was formed after the disputed 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore and given an innocuous name and a seemingly inoffensive mission: to help state election officials make it easier to vote.
In this poisonous, ideologically riven election season, it turns out, that is not easy at all.
The election commission is in federal court this month, effectively accused of trying to suppress voter turnout in November’s elections. The Justice Department, its nominal legal counsel, has declined to defend it. Its case instead is being pleaded by one of the nation’s leading advocates of voting restrictions. The agency’s chairman has disavowed its actions.