On September 10, the Senate Rules Committee held a nominations hearing for two Republicans to serve as Commissioners on the much maligned Election Assistance Commission. The nominees were Matt Masterson, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Ohio Secretary of State and Christy McCormick, an attorney for the Department of Justice Voting Section. Mr. Masterson and Ms. McCormick fielded questions from Senator Angus King (I-ME), the only Senator present at the hearing.
The EAC, established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 was established to develop recommendations to meet HAVA requirements including improving election administration and administering a national clearinghouse on elections including shared practices. This rudderless federal agency is supposed to have two Republican Commissioners and two Democratic Commissioners. However, the EAC has been without any Commissioners for over two years and without four commissioners for over four years. In April, the Rules Committee announced the two Democratic nominees, Thomas Hicks and Myrna Perez would be placed on the Senate’s Executive Calendar for a vote—they have yet to receive one. (Perez is an extremist who is so far outside the mainstream she disagrees with the recommendations of the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration led by President Obama’s own lawyer. Bob Bauer.)
Ranking Member Pat Roberts has repeatedly called for the elimination of the EAC and didn’t even show up to the hearing. His apathy for holding nomination hearings for an agency he doesn’t believe should exist was clearly shared by his colleagues as evidenced by the lack of attendance at the hearing.
This should be a clear message that Senators don’t want to spend time to approve Commissioners for an agency that has outlived its purpose. If any legislative time should be spent on the EAC, it should be to consider its elimination as an outdated federal agency.