Images of voters standing in hours-long lines at the polls in the November 2012 election generated much attention from the media, the public, and from the president. In early 2013, President Barack Obama convened a 10-member bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration to study and recommend ways to shorten lines at polling places, promote the efficient conduct of elections, and provide better access to the polls for all voters.
The Commission held hearings during which it received extensive about the need for election modernization and reform. Among other recommendations, the Brennan Center emphasized that problems with the voter rolls contribute to long lines and that modernizing registration is key to efficient election administration.
The Commission concluded its efforts by issuing its report and recommendations on January 22, 2014, concluding that no voter should wait more than 30 minutes to vote. The Commission recommended that jurisdictions modernize registration by giving citizens the choice to be electronically registered to vote at the same time as they do business with a government office and by adopting online registration. The Commission’s deliberative, bipartisan endorsement confirms that fixing our outdated voter registration system is essential to fixing long lines and bringing our system of running elections into the 21st century.
Presidential Commission on Election Administration Recommends Modernizing Registration
Problems encountered with election administration overlap and intersect, and improved management at one stage in the process will yield benefits at later stages. Improving the accuracy of registration rolls, for example, can expand access, reduce administrative costs, prevent fraud and irregularity, and reduce polling place congestion leading to long lines.
Below are links to the Brennan Center’s testimony before the Commission, the Commission’s report, relevant news accounts, and other resources.
- President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address announcing the Commission
- Huffington Post: Michael Waldman calls Commission an "important step" to improve voting
- Executive order establishing the Commission
- President Obama announces Commission appointees
- Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s website
- Brennan Center’s testimony before the Commission
- Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s January 2014 report
- YouTube video of President Barack Obama meeting with the presidential Commission to release their report and recommendations
- Slate article about the bipartisan Commission’s recommendations
- CBS News: Wendy Weiser comments on the "huge appetite" for modernization
- Daily Beast op-ed: Michael Waldman explains how the Commission's ideas offer a bipartisan path to fix our broken elections
- The Atlantic op-ed: Wendy Weiser details the bipartisan blueprint to modernize voting
- Washington Post article analyzing the presidential Commission’s findings
- President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address reporting on the Commission's findings