Brennan Center Echoes Inspector General's Conclusion on EAC
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tim Bradley, BerlinRosen Public Affairs, (646) 452-5637
Inspector General Concludes Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Lacks Adequate Internal Policies and Procedures
Independent Report Echoes Advocates' Call for Transparent and Regular EAC Procedures
Washington, D.C. -- In testimony today before the U.S. House of Representatives, the Brennan Center called on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to adopt regular and transparent rules that will assist states in improving election administration in 2008. Earlier this week, the EAC's Inspector General rebuked the Commission for its lack of "[p]olicies and procedures in all program areas to document governance and accountability structure and practices in place."
"The Inspector General's independent report confirms our longstanding concerns that the EAC operates in a haphazard manner, without the transparency required of a federal agency. Without regular and standardized procedures, the EAC cannot act with the openness, accountability, and consistency that is necessary for public confidence in the agency and in our elections," said Wendy Weiser, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, in testimony delivered to members of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government of the House Appropriations Committee.
"The Election Assistance Commission is in charge of some of the most important tasks critical to smooth elections in 2008. What's at stake is too important to be left to makeshift practices," stated Weiser.
The Inspector General report found that there was a critical need for the agency to establish procedures and policies in all program areas. Among the areas in which the EAC was found lacking were its research processes and in the standards it sets for overseeing the testing and certification of voting machines.
These findings come after the Brennan Center criticized the agency for its mis-handling of research it commissioned on voter ID laws and voting fraud and intimidation. The EAC also mismanaged the de-accreditation of CIBER, Inc., a laboratory that tested voting systems. The Brennan Center made repeated calls for the agency to adopt regular and transparent procedures.
On Wednesday, the Center's election experts offered a path for how the EAC could restore public faith in the agency and do the important work of administering fair elections.
"Congress can and should make sure that the EAC adopts regular and transparent procedures that will allow it to properly test and certify voting machines, prevent basic ballot design mistakes, and effectively assist states to improve their voter registration databases," stated Weiser. "
The full Brennan Center testimony is available here.