The NCSL Blog


By Susan Parnas Frederick

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration was established by Executive Order on March 28, 2013. Its mission is to make recommendations to improve the elections process and identify best practices in election administration. Last week, the commission comprised of distinguished election administrators and representatives of successful businesses, delivered its key recommendations to the administration which include:

Ballot box

  • Voter registration modernization and coordination. The commission recommends restructuring voter registration to continue the trend toward online voter registration and voter access to the internet to update voter information. The commission also recommends interstate exchange of voter lists to ensure that registration lists are accurate and to decrease polling place congestion.
  • Access to polls. The commission advocates for improved access to polls through vote-by-mail and in-person early voting. Also, states are encourages to use schools as polling facilities.
  • Polling place management. The commission recommends that local officials optimize the resources to make sure there are adequate machines and staff at polling facilities.
  • Reforms to voting machine technology. The commission recognized that voting machines bought at the time of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)’s enactment have reached the end of their lifespan and have decided that future innovation must include more economical and easier updates to voting machines.

The commission studied the issue of long lines at the polling facilities and proposed ideas to address this issue. For example, as in restaurants and theme parks, the voter could take a number. Their solution suggests that election administrations need to study the characteristics of their polling facilities and plan more efficiently for the amount of voters and how to handle them.

Although the commission was not charged with proposing state or federal legislation, it did state that in certain instances that state laws must be modernized to cover changes in technology and legal developments. For example, Hurricane Sandy drew attention to the lack of state laws and procedures for rescheduling elections that occurred during a natural disaster and its immediate aftermath.  

Susan Parnas Frederick is Senior Federal Affairs Counsel for NCSL and works in NCSL’s Washington, D.C. office.

Posted in: Public Policy
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |

Subscribe to the NCSL Blog

Click on the RSS feed at left to add the NCSL Blog to your favorite RSS reader. 

About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.