House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) today introduced a resolution calling for Congress and President Obama to fill the vacancies on the Election Assistance Commission, a bipartisan board that provides advice and counsel to states on best practices to carry out their elections and critical assistance to local election officials. The resolution was cosponsored by Congressman John Lewis (GA-5), Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC-6), Task Force on Election Reform Chair John Larson (CT-1), House Administration Committee Ranking Member Bob Brady (PA-1), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (MI-13), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Judy Chu (CA-27), and Congressman James Langevin (RI-2).
House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5): "This resolution makes it abundantly clear that our voting systems need responsible federal oversight and support, and the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) ought to be working at full capacity and with a full slate of commissioners. I was proud to have sponsored the bipartisan Help America Vote Act in 2002, which established the EAC and authorized it to disseminate information about best practices, provide grants to states for the modernization of their voting equipment, and assist in preventing voter fraud. With the recent Supreme Court ruling in Shelby v. Holder, and as some states have moved to adopt discriminatory voter identification laws and place limits on registration and early voting, the work of the EAC is needed now more than ever. I hope Democrats and Republicans can come together to pass this resolution and reaffirm the bipartisan tradition in guaranteeing free and fair access to the ballot for all eligible voters in our country."
Congressman John Lewis (GA-5): "The efficient administration of fair elections should be above politics and beyond partisanship, so I'm proud to join my friend, my brother, on this important effort. This resolution could help set in motion the streamlining and improvements offered in the Voter Empowerment Act, so that we face the next national election with working solutions to problems people experienced trying to vote in 2012. Without a functioning EAC, there is an absence of any oversight or assistance to local communities seeking to meet federal election standards. It is very important that we seat a full, functioning EAC board well before the next election. Its work has been delayed much too long.
Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC-6): "I support this straightforward resolution to encourage the President and Congress to fill the vacancies on the Election Assistance Commission established by Congress to help states and localities administer federal elections. This bipartisan commission plays an important role in helping avoid some of the problems we've seen in recent years."
Task Force on Election Reform Chair John Larson (CT-1): "During the last election we saw incredibly brazen attempts in several states to make it more difficult for many Americans, particularly minority voters, to cast a ballot. In the face of Congressional inaction to protect these citizens from the malicious efforts of their own states, it is crucial that we have a functioning Election Assistance Commission. This resolution is an important step towards empowering voters across the nation and providing the resources and support our local election officials need."
House Administration Committee Ranking Member Bob Brady (PA-1): "The Election Assistance Commission is the only federal agency charged with the responsibility of helping state and local officials run their elections. Without the EAC, the economic burden of effective election administration will fall to these already cash-strapped jurisdictions. We cannot afford to sell out our electoral process any further. The Senate must take all necessary steps to confirm these nominees immediately."
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (MI-13): "I am proud to sign on as a co-sponsor to the Election Assistance Commission Resolution. Voting rights are too important to put on hold."
Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge (OH-11): "The Election Assistance Commission was created for a reason - to help ensure the right of all Americans to vote and to assist states in creating voting system guidelines that protect that fundamental right. I urge the President and Congress to fill the vacancies on the Commission without further delay."
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15): "Republican efforts to terminate the Election Assistance Commission are an attack on all voters and, if passed, would weaken the foundation of our Democracy. The EAC provides state and local election officials with the tools and information they need to ensure that the constitutional right to vote of all citizens is protected. Latino voters are the fastest growing segment of the United States electorate and have been consistently targeted by jurisdictions for the expressed purpose of diluting their collective power in the voting booth. Now more than ever, we must do everything we can to strengthen this commission and turn back attacks on this critically important tool in protecting voter's rights."
Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Judy Chu (CA-27): "The EAC helps ensure the voice of every American can be heard in our democracy. Forcing it to operate short four commissioners infringes on its ability to protect the right to vote. That is simply unacceptable, which is why I'm proud to join Whip Hoyer in introducing this Resolution."
Congressman James Langevin (RI-2): "The Election Assistance Commission was established under the Help American Vote Act of 2002 to improve the voting process for tens of millions of Americans, and that work is not yet complete. As evidenced by issues that arose as recently as the 2012 elections, it is clear that the Commission still has a vital role to play in upholding a free, transparent elections process that is accessible to all eligible voters, which remains a core principle of our democracy."