Trouble Looms for Election ReformA lack of funding and neglect by federal lawmakers are amongst reasons a key chairperson resigned from the U.S. Electoral Assistance Commission.
Citing a desire to spend more time with his family, and frustration over limited staff, offices and resources, White House appointed Election Assistance Commission (EAC) chairman DeForest Soaries on April 22 announced his resignation from the EAC.
Soaries stated "All four of us [his fellow commissioners] had to work without staff, without offices, without resources. I don't think our sense of personal obligation has been matched by a corresponding sense of commitment to real reform from the federal government.”
The EAC was created in the wake of the 2000 presidential election as required by the Help America Vote Act, a bill passed by Congress in response to public outcry regarding electoral irregularities in Florida and other others around the country.
However, since its inception, the body has been hampered by a slow-acting Congress to appropriate funds and limited authority to institute policy changes. Even though the EAC was created in 2001, it did not have its first meeting, office space or staff until just a few months before the presidential election in mid 2004.
Desories resignation is indicative of the larger structural problems that continue to plague every U.S. election. If the EAC, a body whose sole purpose is to hear electoral irregularities and make recommendations to improve our voting system is neglected by Congress and deemed irrelevant, if this body does not have the resources or the financial support to perform its duties then there is every indication future elections will suffer from the same problems exhibited during the 2000 and 2004 elections.
A strong, well-supported and financed EAC is critical if we want to better elections in the future.