Current Weather
The Spy FM

Obama Forms Presidential Commission To Study Voting Problems

Filed by KOSU News in Politics.
March 28, 2013

President Obama has established a new bipartisan commission on election administration, something he promised to do in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address. He signed an executive order Thursday making it official.

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration is being headed by two longtime Washington attorneys, Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg. Bauer was general counsel to the president’s re-election campaign and is also Obama’s former White House counsel. Ginsberg was national counsel to Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and also to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaigns.

According to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, the commission will look at ways to shorten lines at the polls and to “promote the efficient conduct of elections.” The panel has been directed to submit a final report within six months of its first public meeting. Earnest did not know when that first meeting would be held.

The president’s executive order says the commission will have no more than nine members and will look at things such as polling place design, poll worker training and recruitment, and voting technology.

A number of election experts have expressed doubts that the panel will have much impact because the goals are modest. Earnest said the commission’s final report is “intended to serve as a best practices guide for state and local election officials to improve voters’ experience at the polls under their existing election laws.” The panel’s recommendations will be nonbinding.

Academics, election officials and others have been studying ways to improve election administration for years, and it’s unclear what, if anything, new the commission can come up with in six months. According to experts, long lines at the polls can be caused by a wide variety of things, such as ballot length, inadequate voting equipment, poll worker errors or problems with registration rolls.

Still, there was public outrage in areas, such as Miami, where some Florida voters had to wait for eight or more hours to cast their ballots last November.

Earnest said the president still supports legislative proposals in Congress “to improve the voting experience, make voter registration easier and increase access to voting for all Americans.”

But some people worry that, by appointing the commission, the president has undermined those Democratic-led efforts. After his State of the Union address, League of Women Voters President Elisabeth MacNamara called the commission plan “lip service,” in place of “bold action.” She told NPR at the time: “Long lines occur every four years. There is no real mystery as to why this happens. And there are immediate things that can be done and were not called for.”

She said these include things such as requiring states to offer more early voting and online voter registration, and other measures to make voting easier that are included in proposed legislation on Capitol Hill. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

2PM to 3PM The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party

Think NPR meets Vanity Fair. In each episode, hosts Rico Gagliano & Brendan Francis Newnam talk with some of the world's most interesting celebrities, and along the way equip you with bad jokes, fresh drink recipes, hot food finds, odd news stories... and etiquette tips from the likes of Henry Rollins and Dick Cavett. It's all you need to get an edge in your weekend conversations. Past guests include Michelle Williams, Judd Apatow, Kid Cudi and Sir Richard Branson. Wallpaper magazine calls The Dinner Party one of the Top 40 Reasons To Live In The USA.

Listen Live Now!

3PM to 4PM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

View the program guide!

4PM to 5PM Weekend All Things Considered

Weekend All Things Considered

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center