WASHINGTON -- The Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which President Barack Obama first announced earlier this year during his State of the Union address, was officially launched on Tuesday with the goal of shortening lines at polling places.
The 10-person commission is expected to meet in June and will submit a final report within six months. It is chaired by Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg, who respectively served as the top lawyers for the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns.
Voters in several states waited hours in line to vote during the 2012 election. "When any Americans -- no matter where they live or what their party -- are denied that right simply because they can’t wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals," Obama said during his State of the Union address.
“The President’s expectation is clear,” Bauer said in a statement. “The Commission is charged with developing recommendations based on the best information available for administrative practices that afford voters the opportunity to cast ballots without undue delay and improve their overall experience.”
“Waiting in line and facing other unnecessary obstacles to voting is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” Ginsberg stated. “This effort is aimed at assisting state and local election officials in their ongoing work to improve the voter experience under existing election laws. With extensive input from the public and through the broad knowledge and experience each Commissioner brings to the table, we hope to make a contribution to the hard work on improving election administration in which election officials are continuously engaged.”A White House press release listed the other members of the commission:
- Brian Britton, Vice President, Global Park Operations and Planning at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
- Joe Echevarria, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte LLP
- Trey Grayson, Director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
- Larry Lomax, Clark County (Nevada) Registrar
- Michele Coleman Mayes, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the New York Public Library
- Ann McGeehan, Assistant General Counsel of the Texas County and District Retirement System
- Tammy Patrick, Federal Compliance Officer for the Maricopa County (Arizona) Elections Department
- Christopher Thomas, Director of Elections in the Michigan Department of State