March 12, 2014

Schumer to Introduce Legislation Aimed at Making Elections More Voter Friendly, While Also Increasing Efficiency and Reducing Costs for the Administration of Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        
March 12, 2014      
                                                                                 
SCHUMER, AT RULES COMMITTEE HEARING, ANNOUNCES HE WILL INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO IMPLEMENT KEY PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON ELECTION ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDATIONS & UTILIZE TECHNOLOGY TO STREAMLINE AND IMPROVE AMERICAN ELECTIONS

Schumer to Introduce Legislation Aimed at Making Elections More Voter Friendly, While Also Increasing Efficiency and Reducing Costs for the Administration of Elections

Schumer: American voters deserve an election system that allows every eligible American who wants to participate in our democracy the opportunity to do so without unnecessary burdens

WASHINGTON, DC-- U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, today announced that he is currently crafting legislation to implement key Presidential Commission on Election Administration recommendations to improve election administration. Schumer made the announcement at a hearing today on administrative improvements and cost saving measures for election administration.

The committee heard testimony from three state and local election administrators discussing online voter registration and electronic pollbooks. The hearing also featured remarks by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer about her bill, the Lines Interfere with National Elections (L.I.N.E.) Act (S.2017), and U.S. Senator Christopher Coons discussing his bill, the Fair, Accurate, Secure and Timely (FAST) Voting Act of 2013 (S.85).

“American voters deserve an election system that allows every eligible American who wants to participate in our democracy the opportunity to do so without unnecessary burdens,” Schumer said. “The bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration highlighted several important innovations that deserve to become law, and I intend to introduce a bill that would make that happen. Common sense reforms that utilize existing technology can make our election administration more voter friendly, while also increasing efficiency and reducing costs.”

This hearing marked the second in a series in which Schumer will explore ways of improving election administration. The first was held on February 12, 2014 where the committee heard testimony from the bipartisan co-chairs of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA). Schumer plans to introduce legislation which will build upon the best practices outlined by the PCEA and the testimony at the hearings.

Building on the recommendations of the PCEA and testimony heard so far, Schumer’s legislation will focus on how technology can help improve election administration. Senator Schumer’s legislation will give every American the opportunity to register to vote online by creating an online version of the federal voter registration form.  Senator Schumer is also exploring other ways to provide state and local election officials with increased access to technology, such as electronic pollbooks, that could reduce check in times and lines at polling places, as well as improve the accuracy and integrity of elections.

Witnesses testifying today: Linda H. Lamone, State Administrator of Elections from Maryland; Ms. Tammy Patrick, a Federal Compliance Officer for the Maricopa County Elections Department in Arizona; and Ms. Cameron Quinn, General Registrar for Fairfax County Virginia.

####
Linda H. Lamone was appointed by the Governor of Maryland to be the State Administrator of Elections on July 1, 1997. As the State Election Administrator, Ms. Lamone, by statute, was charged with maximizing the use of technology in election administration including the development and implementation of various statewide systems. These include a statewide voter registration system, a uniform voting system and candidate filing, election management and campaign finance systems. Recently, Ms. Lamone led Maryland in its implementation of on-line voter registration for the 2012 General Election.

Tammy Patrick is a Federal Compliance Officer for Maricopa County Elections Department in Arizona, Ms. Patrick is tasked with serving the 1.9 million registered voters in the greater Phoenix Valley. She collaborates with community and political organizations to create a productive working relationship with the goal of voter participation. In May of 2013 she was selected by President Obama to serve as a Commissioner on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.

Ms. Cameron P. Quinn currently serves as General Registrar for Fairfax County, Virginia.  In this position, she is the agency head for the Office of Elections and responsible for approximately 2-3000 election officials each November election serving over 700,000 voters.  During her 30 month tenure as General Registrar, the Office has been directly responsible for 10 elections, and a statewide recount.  Ms. Quinn’s also served as Virginia’s Secretary of the State Board of Elections (1999-2003) under then Governors Jim Gilmore and Mark Warner.