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. During his term as EAC Chairman, Mr. Palmer and the Commission instituted a process to establish security and accessibility standards for electronic poll books as part of an EAC testing pilot of non-voting technology. The initiative resulted in the establishment of the Election Supporting Technology Evaluation Program (ESTEP) for the testing of all election technology, particularly related to the Help America Vote Act. During his tenure as Chairman, Commissioner Palmer added Clearinghouse responsibilities to provide language translation and ADA accessibility best practices for states and localities. Mr. Palmer has served as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) of the EAC's Standards Board on multiple occasions and recently as 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. He currently serves as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) of the Board of Advisors.
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 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. Palmer established Virginia as a founding member of the Election Registration Information Center (ERIC), a group of states working together to maintain the accuracy of voter registration rolls and the identification of registrants who may have registered or voted in multiple states. 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. 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.