Saturday, February 25, 2017

Masterson Named New EAC Chairman

On February 24th, Commissioner Matthew Masterson was elected Chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), a position he will hold for one year. Masterson will continue to serve alongside EAC Commissioner Thomas Hicks, who now moves from the role of Chairman to Vice Chair, and Commissioner Christy A. McCormick.

"As a former Ohio election official and having served as a member of the EAC’s Testing and Certification team, I know the EAC is a vital resource for state and local election administrators, voters, and stakeholders. There are more than 8,000 election jurisdictions in the United States, each facing mounting pressures that stem from concerns such as cybersecurity and aging voting equipment. I plan to spend the coming year as Chairman helping to make sure their needs are met and their voices are heard," Chairman Masterson stated.

Chairman Masterson has identified three areas of concern to State and Local Election officials that will inform his Agenda for the coming year, including:

- Supporting and empowering State and Local Election officials as they deal with pressures stemming from America’s aging Election system Infrastructure.

- Working to bridge the information gap between the Department of Homeland Security and State Election officials who are still wondering how the Department’s decision to designate Election systems as part of the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure will impact their day-to-day operations.

- Ensuring improved Election Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities, Limited English Proficiency Voters, as well as Military and other Americans Voting overseas.

Chairman Masterson assumes this new role amid the EAC’s #GamePlan17 work to prepare for next year’s Midterm Elections. That effort will be largely informed by lessons learned in 2016 and the Commission’s 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), the most comprehensive set of data regarding Election Administration and Voting across the United States. EAVS is slated for release at the end of June. His Election also comes less than a week after a set of 17 Core Voting System functions that will guide the EAC’s next generation of Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) was adopted by the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), a step that sets the stage for the new Voting System Guidelines to be completed by 2018. This Spring the EAC is also poised to release a new website that will feature a cutting-edge, user-friendly design. The site will also become the new permanent home for the popular Tools and Guidance stemming from the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA).

Chairman Masterson was recommended by former Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio) and nominated to serve as an EAC Commissioner by President Barack H. Obama. He was confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on December 16th, 2014. Before his EAC appointment, Chairman Masterson served as Interim Chief of Staff for the Ohio Secretary of State, whom he had previous served as a Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Information Officer. In his earlier position of Deputy Director of Elections for the State of Ohio, Chairman Masterson was responsible for Voting system certification efforts by the Secretary of State’s office, including being the liaison to the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners. Additionally, he was in Charge of Ohio’s effort to develop an Online Voter Registration system and Online Ballot delivery for Military and Overseas voters.

Let’s hope the EAC continues to exist throughout his tenure as Chair, as there is a Republican effort to eliminate the EAC.

In a little-noticed 6-3 Vote, the House Administration Committee voted along Party lines to eliminate the EAC.

“It is my firm belief that the EAC has outlived its usefulness and purpose,” said Committee Chair Gregg Harper (R-MS), explaining why his Bill transfers the EAC’s Authority to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Thirty-eight Pro-Democracy groups, including the NAACP and Common Cause, denounced the Vote. “The EAC is the only federal agency which has as its central mission the improvement of election administration, and it undertakes essential activities that no other institution is equipped to address,” says the Brennan Center for Justice.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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