Donald Palmer was nominated by President Donald J. Trump and confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on January 2, 2019 to serve as a United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Commissioner. Mr. Palmer currently serves as Vice Chair of the EAC and the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) for the Local Leadership Council (LLC).
During his term as EAC Chairman, Mr. Palmer and the Commission instituted a process to establish security testing standards for electronic poll books as part of an EAC testing pilot of election supporting technology. The initiative resulted in the establishment of the Election Supporting Technology Evaluation Program (ESTEP) for the testing of election supporting technology, including ballot delivery, election night reporting, and voting technologies related to the Help America Vote Act.
Mr. Palmer has served as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) of the EAC's Standards Board and the Board of Advisors on different occasions and the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) during the implementation phase of VVSG 2.0, including the adoption of the Lifecycle Policy for the new generation of voting systems and the addition of new penetration testing requirements for future testing campaigns of all voting systems submitted to EAC accredited laboratories.
Mr. Palmer is a former Bipartisan Policy Center Fellow where he advanced the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. Mr. Palmer is a former Secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections and served as the Commonwealth’s Chief Election Official from 2011 to 2014. During his tenure, he implemented an online voter registration system and testing program to review the security and usability of voting systems and electronic poll books. He also served as Florida’s Director of Elections where he successfully transitioned the state from electronic voting machines to paper-based digital voting machines prior to the 2008 presidential election and expanded the Florida voting system state certification program. Prior to his work in election administration, he served as a trial attorney with the Voting Section in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where he enforced the nation’s federal voting laws, including the Help America Vote Act and the Voting Rights Act. Palmer is a military veteran, retiring from the U.S. Navy after two decades as an intelligence officer and judge advocate general.
Mr. Palmer earned his J.D. at the Stetson University College of Law and his master’s degree at George Washington University.