McCormick Elected New EAC Chairwoman

Monday, February 25, 2019

Silver Spring, Md. – Commissioner Christy McCormick has been elected the new Chairwoman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), a position she will hold for one year. McCormick will continue to serve alongside newly-elected EAC Vice Chairman Ben Hovland, and EAC Commissioners Thomas Hicks and Donald Palmer. 

 “The EAC is as important today as at any other time since the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was enacted. With a full slate of commissioners for the first time in nearly a decade, the Commission’s main focus this year is on helping election administrators prepare for the 2020 Presidential Election,” said Chairwoman McCormick. “We are also dedicated to providing voters with the resources they need to fully participate in our nation’s elections, as well as providing the information they need to have faith that their votes will be cast securely and counted accurately. It is an honor to serve as Chairwoman during this important time, and I look forward to working alongside my fellow Commissioners and the entire EAC team.”

Chairwoman McCormick has identified the following areas of focus that will inform her agenda for the coming year, including:

  • Preparation for 2020 Presidential Election – Chairwoman McCormick said that the EAC will prioritize work to support election administrators as they prepare for the upcoming Presidential Election, including efforts to enhance election security, address aging election equipment, share election best practices, and support other key areas of election administration. For example, the EAC is poised to launch a new effort to assist election officials who must administer elections in the face of unanticipated disasters, both natural and manmade.
  • Replacing Aging Election Equipment – Nearly only year after Congress allocated $380 million in new HAVA funds for states to improve their election systems, Chairwoman McCormick and the EAC will continue to work with states as they invest those funds, including the purchase of new election equipment to replace the nation’s aging election systems. The EAC will also work toward final consideration and adoption of the next generation of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) that the EAC will use to test and certify election equipment.
  • Ensuring Voter Accessibility – Chairwoman McCormick will lead the agency in efforts to protect the right of all Americans, including those with disabilities, to vote privately and independently. She will also prioritize election access for U.S. military personnel and other Americans living overseas, as well as help election administrators fulfill their obligations to provide access for those who speak English as a second language. 

This is Chairwoman McCormick’s second time at the helm of the agency. After the EAC was reinstated in 2015, she was quickly elected by her fellow Commissioners as Chairwoman of the for the 2015-2016 term. As the agency’s first chairperson in four years, she re-established the operation of the Commission itself, as well as the Commission’s three advisory boards: the EAC Standards Board, Board of Advisors, and Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC). Chairwoman McCormick executed a new management policy, secured a long-overdue update to the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG), obtained the accreditation of a new Voting System Testing Laboratory (VSTL), oversaw the hiring of the Executive Director and General Counsel, and led the reaffirmation of accessibility in voting as a top priority for the Commission. She instituted the EAC’s first Language Access for Voters Summit, first Election Data Summit, and established a working relationship with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to address postal issues in elections. As Chairwoman, she also launched a continuing effort with the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) and the Council of State Governments (CSG) to improve the Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), and diligently and successfully worked to restore the Commission’s standing with Members of Congress, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), local election officials, and other stakeholders in the election community.

Chairwoman McCormick was nominated by President Barack H. Obama and confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on December 16, 2014 to serve on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).  Prior to her appointment with the EAC, Commissioner McCormick served as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, a position she held from 2006 until joining the Commission. In that role, Chairwoman McCormick was responsible for investigating and prosecuting violations of federal voting statutes, including the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE). Additionally, she worked with election officials to monitor compliance with federal voting statutes, especially the Voting Rights Act and its minority language requirements, and fair administration of elections. She has observed numerous elections, and worked with election officials all across America. 

Chairwoman McCormick was detailed by the Deputy Attorney General to be Senior Attorney Advisor and Acting Deputy Rule of Law Coordinator in the Office of the Rule of Law Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq from 2009 to 2010, where she worked as the U.S. elections expert overseeing the Iraq national elections (including an extensive election re-count), as well as on numerous U.S. and coalition Rule of Law efforts. She was the Rule of Law liaison to the Kurdish Regional Government as well as liaison to rule of law advisors at the Provincial Reconstruction Teams.

Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Chairwoman McCormick served as a Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Elizabeth A. McClanahan in the Court of Appeals of Virginia from 2003 to 2006. Ms. McCormick was an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia from 2001 to 2003. She was a member of the U.S. Supreme Court legal teams for Black v. Virginia (defending the Commonwealth’s criminal statute against cross-burning) and Hicks v. Virginia (defending a 1st amendment challenge to a state trespassing policy), as well as in cases on appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. She was a Judicial Law Clerk in Virginia’s Seventh Judicial Circuit Court from 1999 to 2001.

Chairwoman McCormick received her B.A. from the University of Buffalo, a J.D. with honors from the George Mason University School of Law (now Antonin Scalia Law School), and also attended the William & Mary School of Law.

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