[Image courtesy of supportthevoter]
There will be lots to say as this group gets going, but for today here's the formal announcement:
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2013 -- The Presidential Commission on Election Administration was officially launched today, following President Barack Obama's State of the Union pledge to identify non-partisan ways to shorten lines at polling places, promote the efficient conduct of elections, and provide better access to the polls for all voters.
The 10-member Commission will submit a final report to the President within six months of its first public meeting, which is expected to be held in Washington in June. Headed by Co-Chairs Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg, the Commissioners are experts in election administration, policy and procedures, or leaders from customer service-oriented businesses and industry.
"The President's expectation is clear," said Co-Chair Bob Bauer, who served President Obama as White House counsel from December 2009 until 2011, and as General Counsel to the President's re-election committee and to the Democratic National Committee. "The Commission is charged with developing recommendations based on the best information available for administrative practices that afford voters the opportunity to cast ballots without undue delay and improve their overall experience."
"Waiting in line and facing other unnecessary obstacles to voting is not a Republican or Democratic issue," said Co-Chair Ben Ginsberg, who served as national counsel to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004, and as national counsel to the Romney for President campaigns in 2008 and 2012. "This effort is aimed at assisting state and local election officials in their ongoing work to improve the voter experience under existing election laws. With extensive input from the public and through the broad knowledge and experience each Commissioner brings to the table, we hope to make a contribution to the hard work on improving election administration in which election officials are continuously engaged."
In addition, a press release from the White House gives more detail on the background of the Commissioners:
Robert F. Bauer, Appointee for Co-Chair, Presidential Commission on Election Administration Robert F. Bauer is currently a partner at Perkins Coie LLP and General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee. He previously served as General Counsel to Obama for America and served as White House Counsel from 2009 to 2011. In his 30 years of practice, Mr. Bauer has provided counseling and representation on matters involving regulation of political activity before courts and administrative agencies for national party committees, candidates, political committees, individuals, Federal officeholders, corporations and trade associations, and tax-exempt groups. He received a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Benjamin L. Ginsberg, Appointee for Co-Chair, Presidential Commission on Election Administration
Benjamin L. Ginsberg is currently a partner at Patton Boggs LLP where he represents campaigns, candidates, members of Congress and state legislatures, Governors, corporations, trade associations and individuals participating in the political process. He was formerly General Counsel to the Republican National Committee, and currently represents the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. He also serves as Counsel to the Republican Governors Association. Mr. Ginsberg recently served as National Counsel to the Romney for President campaign and previously served as National Counsel to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign in 2000 and 2004. He received an A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Brian Britton, Appointee for Member, Presidential Commission on Election Administration
Brian Britton is currently the Vice President of Global Park Operations and Initiatives at Walt Disney World Company. He joined Disney in 1999 and was previously the Vice President of Labor Operations, Operations Strategy, and Operations Support. He is a board member of Community Based Care of Central Florida, a non-profit organization that manages Central Florida's foster care program, and a board member for the Florida Attractions Association, a tourism industry trade association. Mr. Britton is a Navy veteran and a former Naval Aviator. He received a B.S. in Systems Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Master's degree equivalent in the theory and operation of avionic systems in Naval Flight Officer School, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Joe Echevarria, Appointee for Member, Presidential Commission on Election Administration
Joe Echevarria has served as Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte LLP since June 2011. Mr. Echevarria joined Deloitte in 1978 and became an audit partner in 1988. Since that time, he has held a wide range of leadership positions, most recently as U.S. Managing Partner for Operations. As part of his current role, Mr. Echevarria chairs the U.S. Executive Committee, and is a member of the U.S. Board of Directors, the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited Board, and the Americas Executive Committee. Mr. Echevarria serves on the Board of Trustees and chairs the University of Miami School of Business's Board of Overseers. He received a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Miami.
Trey Grayson, Appointee for Member, Presidential Commission on Election Administration
Trey Grayson is currently the Director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Mr. Grayson previously served as Secretary of State for Kentucky, elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. Prior to his election, Mr. Grayson practiced law at the law firms of Greenebaum Doll & McDonald and Keating Muething & Klekamp. Mr. Grayson has served as the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), chair of the NASS Elections Committee, and vice chair of the NASS Committee on Voter Participation. He received an A.B. from Harvard College, and a J.D. and M.B.A. from the University of Kentucky.
Larry Lomax, Appointee for Member, Presidential Commission on Election Administration
Larry Lomax is currently the Clark County Registrar in Nevada, a position he has held since 1999. Mr. Lomax serves as Nevada's representative to the Election Assistance Commission's Standards Board, was elected by the board's members to the Standards Board Executive Board, and served on a Pew Foundation Committee focused on modernizing our nation's system of registering voters. He previously served as Assistant Registrar in Clark County from 1998 to 1999. Prior to working in Clark County, Mr. Lomax was a Professor of Leadership and Ethics at the Air War College. As a former Air Force pilot, he accumulated over 4,000 hours of flying time in a 30-year career. He served two tours on the Joint Staff in Washington D.C. and was chosen to serve as the Air Force Colonel on the staff group supporting the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mr. Lomax received a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from the University of North Dakota. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School.
Michele Coleman Mayes, Appointee for Member, Presidential Commission on Election Administration
Michele Coleman Mayes is currently Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary for the New York Public Library (NYPL). Ms. Mayes joined NYPL in August 2012 after serving as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Allstate Insurance Company since 2007. She served as a Senior Vice President and the General Counsel of Pitney Bowes Inc. from 2003 to 2007 and in several legal capacities at Colgate-Palmolive from 1992 to 2003. In 1982, Ms. Mayes entered the corporate sector as managing attorney of Burroughs Corporation. After Burroughs and Sperry Corporation merged, creating Unisys Corporation, she was appointed Staff Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Worldwide Litigation. From 1976 through 1982, she served in the U.S. Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney in Detroit and Brooklyn, eventually assuming the role of Chief of the Civil Division in Detroit. Ms. Mayes received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Ann McGeehan, Appointee for Member, Presidential Commission on Election Administration
Ann McGeehan is currently the Assistant General Counsel of the Texas County and District Retirement System. Previously, she served 22 years in the Elections Division of the Texas Secretary of State's Office, including as the Director of Elections from 1995 to 2011 and the Director of the Elections Legal Section from 1991 to 1995. Ms. McGeehan is a past president of the National Association of State Election Directors, and a former member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Standards Board and Technical Guidelines Development Committee. Ms. McGeehan also served on an advisory group to the Pew Center on the States' Election Initiative. She received a B.A. from the University of Texas and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.
Tammy Patrick, Appointee for Member, Presidential Commission on Election Administration
Tammy Patrick is currently a Federal Compliance Officer for the Maricopa County Elections Department in Arizona. In 2013, she became a voting member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' working group on developing standards for a universal format for election results reporting. She is also a representative on the Mailer's Technical Advisory Committee to the U.S. Post Office and serves as the co-chair of the Postal Task Force for the Election Center. She has previously served as a member of the Election Assistance Commission's working group on Language Assistance for Unwritten Language, as an organizer of the 2007 Native American Voter Outreach Summit, and as a member of the Election Center's National Task Force on Education and Training. Ms. Patrick received her B.A. from Purdue University.
Christopher Thomas, Appointee for Member, Presidential Commission on Election Administration
Christopher Thomas is the Director of Elections in the Michigan Department of State, a position he has held since 1981. Mr. Thomas also teaches election law as an Adjunct Professor at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. From 1977 to 1981, Mr. Thomas served as Director of Campaign Finance Information and Director of Campaign Finance Operations for the State of Michigan. Mr. Thomas served as the Director of Public Communications at the Federal Election Commission from 1975 to 1977. He began his election administration career in 1974 in Washington, D.C. where he was a Staff Assistant responsible for managing campaign finance filings in the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Thomas is a founding member of the National Association of State Election Directors and currently serves as President. Mr. Thomas has served on the Board of Advisors to the Election Assistance Commission since 2005. He received a B.A. from Michigan State University, an M.A. from St. Louis University, and a J.D. from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
I'm looking forward to seeing what this group is able to accomplish - if nothing else, the presence of so many well-respected current and former election officials is a huge plus.
Stay tuned ...