Last week the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Board of Advisors commission met in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Board of Advisors is composed of a diverse group of members ranging from election officials and government officials to college professors, computer scientists and activists. Each member brings a unique and important voice to the table and helps to shape our work to ensure accurate, accessible and secure elections.
In the wake of the 2000 presidential election, Congress drafted the Help America Vote Act of 2002, legislation that acknowledges that the country is made up of diverse opinions about election administration and each of those opinions needs the opportunity to provide input to the EAC. This week’s meeting gave us a chance to hear from them, to exchange ideas, and for the EAC team to share more about the dynamic day-to-day work of the commission.
Among the topics we covered in Minneapolis was the role the EAC is playing to help state and local election officials to fully understand and unpack the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to designate election systems as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. We also discussed the ongoing effort to finalize the next generation of Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, an effort we’re hoping to wrap-up next year. In addition to these important topics, the Board of Advisors heard more about the work of the EAC in 2017 to ensure that all stakeholders who are eligible to cast a ballot may do so independently and privately. The Board of Advisors will play a critical role as we continue these efforts.
As we look back on the 2016 election and the threats to democracy and casting of ballots, the work of the Board of Advisors remains vital to the EAC and the county moving forward. While the members of this board and its election leadership change over time, its mission remains the same and we are thankful for the important role they play in the EAC’s work to improve our nation’s election systems and policies.