White House Announces 'nonpartisan' Elections Commission

Late Tuesday, president Barack Obama announced 10 appointees to undertake the Commission on Election Administration. The commission includes both Republican and Democratic operatives, as well as academics and business professionals. From the release:

“The right to vote is one of the most essential rights provided by the Constitution.  As I said in my State of the Union Address, when any American, no matter where they live or what their party, is denied that right simply because too many obstacles stand in their way, we are betraying our ideals.  We have an obligation to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots without unwarranted obstructions or unnecessary delay. I am pleased that these committed individuals have agreed to offer their expertise to the Presidential Commission on Election Administration and I look forward to working with them in the coming months.”

Co-chairs, Robert Bauer and Benjamin Ginsberg are current and former general councils to the Democratic and Republican National Committees respectively. Appointees also include:

Brian Britton – Vice President of Global Operations at Disney World

Joe Echevarria – Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte LLP, an audit, consulting, financial advisory, and risk management firm based in San Diego, California

Trey Grayson – Director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Larry Lomax – Clark County Registrar in Nevada

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 Maricopa County, Arizona, Elections Department

Christopher Thomas – Director of Elections for Michigan’s Department of State

Following through on the pledge made during Obama’s State of the Union address, the commission asserts itself as a nonpartisan mechanism to reform voting access.

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration was created following President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to identify non-partisan ways to shorten lines at polling places, promote the efficient conduct of elections, and provide better access to the polls for all voters.

With well-known Republican and Democratic officials at the helm, it’s safe to say partisan interests will be considered by the elections commission. What remains to be seen is how effective this commission will be as opposed to the infamous Presidential Commission on Jobs and Competitiveness.