Mississippi Republican Rep. Gregg Harper has introduced legislation (H.R.672) to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which Congress created in 2002 to implement the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The EAC developed guidance to meet HAVA requirements and set voluntary voting system guidelines for states. It also distributed funds to states to update voting equipment, a job which Harper says is essentially complete.
Nearly a decade after its creation, and years since it accomplished its primary objectives, the Commission continues to operate with little benefit to election administration.
Last year the National Association of Secretaries of State renewed a 2005 resolution calling on Congress not to reauthorize or fund the EAC, stating it has “served its purpose.”
Harper estimates that getting rid of EAC would save taxpayers an estimated $14 million annually.
“You have more than fifty percent of the budget going to administration, a little over 30 percent is going to programs,” Harper said, pointing out that within three years the agency doubled their staff without adding new responsibilities. “It was only designed to be there for a few years.”
If adopted, the legislation will transfer the Commission’s remaining responsibilities and its authority to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) while the EAC’s Office of Voting System Testing and Certification program will be transferred to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
“By eliminating the EAC, we are furthering our commitment to eradicate wasteful spending and inefficiencies in government operations,” Harper said.
The bill is pending in the House subcommittee on Elections and currently has 21 co-sponsors. The subcommittee is expected to be mark up the bill this month.
You’ve got to like a bill that both cuts spending and shrinks government!