“Achievable Federal Election Reform”


Today the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Elections Project released a collaborative report undertaken with American Enterprise InstituteIssue OneR Street, and Unite AmericaPrioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform. This report’s proposals build on synergy between Republican and Democratic election priorities in four areas—voter registration, casting a ballot, counting the vote, and cyber and physical security—with federal funding contingent on states meeting minimum standards in each of these areas. All of the report’s individual policy recommendations are endorsed by working group members as part of a comprehensive package.

“The members of this working group come from different sides of the ideological spectrum, but we all believe that elections should be fair, accessible, secure, and transparent,” said Matthew Weil, director of BPC’s Elections Project. “This report prioritizes those principles instead of either party’s talking points. Republicans and Democrats in Congress should use this framework to draft bipartisan reforms that improve and protect the core of our democracy.”

Federal election reform remains a polarizing issue following the contentious 2020 presidential election. Though the 2020 election was free and fair, it shed light on many opportunities to improve the U.S. electoral system at the state and federal level. Congress should act on these opportunities, prioritizing bipartisanship and voters’ interests.

Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform recommends an incentive-based election funding model. States that meet the report’s 14 proposed minimum standards by 2024 would be eligible for federal grants and these grants would be partially matched by state governments. Colorado and Georgia currently meet all proposed minimum standards, and Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington meet all but one.

Some of the report’s proposed minimum standards include:

States should be required to perform voter list maintenance at regular intervals.

States should adhere to a minimum requirement for verifying voter identity that includes a variety of identification options. 

States should use standard automated voter registration processes based on security best practices. 

Voters should have the option of voting early and in-person for a period of at least seven days in advance of a federal election.

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