Access Democracy supports Amendment to Restore Funding to Election Assistance Commission (7/12/2017)
Access Democracy joined a letter in support of an amendment to the financial services and general government appropriations bill that would restore funding for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The amendment, offered by Representative Quigley, would restore funding for the EAC to the level requested in the President's FY18 budget. Currently, the legislation terminates the EAC entirely.
July 12, 2017
Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations
Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Lowey, and Members of the Committee:
On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write in support of Representative Quigley’s amendment to the financial services and general government appropriations bill that would restore funding for the Election Assistance Commission (“EAC”) to the President’s FY18 budget request of $9.2 million. Current language in the legislation would terminate the EAC. Doing so would eliminate a vital resource for states that is a critical part of the federal government’s effort to ensure that our elections are fair, efficient, and serve America’s voters. In the interest of ensuring an ethical and accessible system of elections, we urge the Appropriations Committee to support the Quigley Amendment and restore funding to the EAC.
The EAC serves every American voter by conducting research, collecting data, and sharing information among elected officials, the public, and interested organizations. In the last two years since the EAC has had a quorum again, it has voted to accredit a new voting system test laboratory that will test new voting equipment and make further recommendations based on the results. The EAC is working to evaluate and endorse standards and guidelines that reflect the newest and best methods of election administration.
In light of the many challenges faced by our state and local election administrators and the serious procedural problems that weaken voter access and participation, we believe that this is a time to reaffirm our commitment to voting rights and fair elections by strengthening the EAC and providing it with the staff it requires to function effectively. As EAC Chair Matthew Masterson stated during an interview1 with the Center for Public Integrity, “We’re coming off the most interesting presidential election certainly any of us have ever seen and election officials have real needs and real questions about the security of the systems, the integrity of the process, so we’re working directly with them, as we have all along, to get them the resources they need to serve them well.” States need to enhance their voting infrastructure to ensure it is modern and secure as well as communicating with each other about best practices in election administration, and the EAC is working in conjunction with states to achieve those goals.
EAC Commissioner Thomas Hicks also highlighted the integral work the EAC does in an op-ed2 earlier this year. Hicks wrote that “In partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, the EAC helped the nation’s 8,000+ election jurisdictions successfully address any specific cybersecurity threats relevant to the 2016 Presidential Election.” The EAC has proven to be a pivotal asset in providing federal assistance in securing election systems. Eliminating the commission would leave states without these critical resources and create additional risks in future elections, and is extremely unwise in light of events that occurred during the 2016 election.
We therefore respectfully ask that you vote in support of Representative Quigley’s amendment to restore funding to the EAC to the President’s FY18 budget request of $9.2 million. Protecting the integrity of the electoral system and assisting states in modernizing voting systems is critical at this moment in time.
American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Unions (AFL-CIO) American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Arkansas United Community Coalition
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote)
Brennan Center for Justice
Campaign Legal Center
Color Of Change
Fair Elections Legal Network
Franciscan Action Network
Friends of the Earth U.S.
League of Women Voters of the United States
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc
NAACP- National Voter Fund
NALEO Educational Fund
National Council of Jewish Women
National Disability Rights Network
Native American Rights Fund
Ohio Voter Rights Coalition
One Wisconsin Institute
People For the American Way
Rock the Vote
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
The Voter Participation Center
Voting Rights Institute
1 Levinthal, Dave. "Top Federal Election Official: Voting Fraud 'not an Epidemic'." Center for Public Integrity. Center for Public Integrity, 13 Apr. 2017.
2 Hicks, Thomas. "EAC Commissioner Underscores Importance of Congressional Support for Election Assistance." The Hill. CAPITOL HILL PUBLISHING CORP., 26 Jan. 2017.