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Hinchey, Serrano Urge Non-Partisanship, Greater Transparency at Election Assistance Commission PDF  | Print |  Email
By Rep. Jose Serrano and Rep. Maurice Hinchey   
April 11, 2007

Today, Congressmen Maurice Hinchey (NY-22) and José E. Serrano (NY-16) urged the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to act with greater transparency and without partisanship.  The comments from the congressmen came as the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government released a draft version of an EAC report on voter fraud and intimidation that shows significant changes were made to the findings of outside experts before the final report was released.

"The EAC has an obligation to be forthright with the American people and operate transparently and in a non-partisan manner," said Congressman Hinchey, who requested the draft report from EAC Commissioner Donetta L. Davidson during a subcommittee hearing last month. "The draft report was commissioned with taxpayer dollars upon a mandate from Congress so that we could learn more about voter fraud and intimidation. The need for this report is even more clear when we see the way in which the Bush administration is carrying out the electoral process and how this system is sliding towards corruption In hiding a draft report from the public that is significantly different from the final version, the EAC has created a lot more questions than it is has answered while stunting debate on the issue. In order for our democracy to function properly it is essential that our elections are free of any corruption and that includes ensuring that the EAC does not work to benefit one political party over the other. To achieve that goal we must have all the facts and opinions on the table, not just some of them. The EAC must never limit discussion and debate."


"The EAC is charged with helping to ensure our elections are trustworthy and administered fairly," said Congressman Serrano, who is Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees the EAC budget. "I'm concerned if changes were made to the report on voter fraud because of partisan bias rather than impartial analysis. When you read the draft report side-by-side with the final version, it is clear that important conclusions of the experts who wrote the draft report were excluded from the final product. Among the excluded information is an analysis that undermines the notion that voter fraud is rampant.

"I am concerned that the EAC did not publicly release the taxpayer-funded draft report, and I worry that political considerations may have played a role. We cannot have a politicized EAC, or one that yields to outside pressure. Our democracy, and the American people's faith in it, is far more important than any short-term political advantage."

The draft report was written by outside experts under contract with the EAC. The final report was entitled "Election Crimes: An Initial Review and Recommendations for Future Study" and was issued on December 7, 2006.
 
The EAC is an independent bipartisan commission created by the 2002 Help America Vote Act in order to disburse funds to the states for the purchase of new voting systems, certify voting technologies, develop guidelines and serve as an information resource for election administration.
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