Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Elections Subcommittee Ranking Member and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Charles A. Gonzalez, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Judy Chu and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Emanuel Cleaver today denounced Republican efforts to terminate the Election Assistance Commission, the agency Congress created in the wake of the debacle in Florida during the 2000 Presidential Election. The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was created by the Help America Vote Act, which Whip Hoyer was the lead co-sponsor of in the House. The bill is being debated in the House tonight and will be voted on tomorrow.
"I strongly oppose this legislation, as abolishing the EAC would be an invitation to repeat the mistakes that blemished our democracy in 2000," said Hoyer. "The work of the EAC matters to voters, who deserve assurance that their votes will count on Election Day. There is too much at stake to abolish the EAC. I can think of few more essential tasks than ensuring that the people's representatives are elected fairly."
"The EAC empowers state and local election officials by providing a host of tools to ensure efficient and effective elections," said Chairman Gonzalez. "Local election officials from across the country oppose this bill and support EAC. This irresponsible legislation should be soundly defeated."
"We put American democracy at risk by eliminating the only Federal program that ensures reliable and trustworthy elections systems," said Chairwoman Chu. "The EAC's work is critical to making sure every citizen, regardless of culture and background, understands how to exercise their constitutional right to vote."
"It is a sad day in America when individuals are working to disfranchise hard working Americans," said Chairman Cleaver. "Since 1776, African Americans have fought for the right to vote. At every turn, African Americans have worked tirelessly to protect voting rights for all Americans. Now, once again, Republicans are working to essentially disenfranchise more voters. Ending the Election Assistance Commission is a step in the wrong direction, and not in the spirit of everything the Congressional Black Caucus has fought for and continues to fight for."
The Election Support Consolidation and Efficiency Act (H.R. 672) would terminate the EAC, moving its responsibility for inspecting and certifying voting machines back to the Federal Election Commission, which had overseen them in 2000. The majority of EAC's other functions, including producing voting materials in half a dozen languages and sharing best practices from election officials across the country, would cease to exist. This has led to the bill's condemnation from voter protection groups including the League of Women Voters, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and the NAACP, as well as numerous local and state election officials from across the country.