Democracy Fund Voice has engaged in direct advocacy and made an advocacy grant related to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Each effort is described below.
Type of Activity: Direct Advocacy in 2014
What is the Election Assistance Commission?
The Election Assistance Commission was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). The U.S. Election Assistance Commission is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. The Commission also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as audits the use of HAVA funds. Other responsibilities include maintaining the national mail voter registration form developed in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
Why do we think the Election Assistance Commission is important?
There are nearly 8,000 local election jurisdictions across the United States – each one responsible for supporting the administration of one of the most important civic activities in our democracy. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission is an independent federal bipartisan agency that provides critical support, resources, and standards. Their efforts ensure that the local and state officials in charge of each of these jurisdictions are able to ensure that our elections will be accessible, fair, and cost effective.
Among other tasks, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission examines how elections are administered to find patterns of problems and models for solving them. The Commission creates voting systems standards and oversees the certification process to ensure machines (and any upgrades or patches) are reliable, accessible, and secure. It creates resources for local officials on how best to train poll workers, manage polling places, and design voting materials. The EAC also provides comprehensive data to election officials, advocates, and the public on how elections are administered—and allows others to assess how they might be improved.
How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting the success of the Election Assistance Commission?
Democracy Fund Voice staff worked with a coalition of organizations in 2014 to help encourage the United States Senate to confirm three commissioners to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The Commission had been without a quorum since 2010 – which prevented the agency from fulfilling its responsibilities. In December of 2014, the United States Senate confirmed three nominees to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. That confirmation provided the agency with a quorum and enabled it to move forward on long-delayed tasks like updating its certification standards for voting technology, pursuing solutions to the voting machine crisis, and bringing election officials, experts, and advocates together to solve challenging problems of the day.
Democracy Fund Voice continues to work with leaders in the field to support the agency and its ongoing funding, because the EAC’s guidance and support for local election offices provides resources that cannot be found in most local or state elections offices. The Commission serves to support best practices and promote cutting edge resources for its constituency of elections administrators (and the end users—the voters).
Letter to Oppose House Resolution 634: the Election Assistance Commission Termination Act – Democracy Fund Voice urges Congress to oppose this bill, which will put an end to the indispensable work of the Election Assistance Commission. The EAC acts as a liaison between the states and the federal government, provides federal agencies, states, and the public with national election data and trends, and serves a vital role in setting voting equipment standards. We urge Congress to support the ongoing existence of this small but effective group of public servants.
Type of Activity: Advocacy Grant
Grantee: Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Amount: Up to $143,523 in 2015
What is the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights?
Founded in 1950, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition of more than 200 national civil and human rights organizations charged by its diverse membership to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, the Leadership Conference works toward a goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals. As part of its work to support the right to vote, the Leadership Conference advocates for Congress to continue to support and fully fund the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in order to ensure that it is able to fulfill its important mission.
Why is this advocacy project important?
Last year, the United States Senate confirmed three commissioners to serve on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission after several years in which the agency lacked the quorum necessary for it to act. Now that the agency has regained its governing quorum, it is essential that the EAC continue to have sufficient resources to fulfill its responsibilities. Democracy Fund Voice supported the Leadership Conference’s advocacy on behalf of a strong EAC to ensure that government officials, Members of Congress, and the public understand the important, nonpartisan role that it plays in sustaining the health of our system of elections.
How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights?
In 2015, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of up to $142,523, which includes a sub-grant of $69,300, to the NAACP’s National Voter Fund, to support advocacy for continuing federal support of the EAC’s appropriation.