Elite U.S. Commission Recommends Extensive Voting Reforms
A bi-partisan voting reform commission headed by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III released a report Monday calling for broad improvements before the 2008 election. Commission member Shirley Malcom, head of Education and Human Resources at AAAS, was to join with Carter, Baker and other commissioners in presenting the report to President Bush and congressional leaders.
After nearly six months of meetings, hearings and research, the commission identified five "pillars" of election reform-voter registration, voter identification, voting technology, increased access to voting and nonpartisan election administration. In their meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill, the commissioners were expected to stress the urgency of problems they identified in the U.S. voting system.
The Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, formed last March, was comprised of 21 public officials, scholars and civic leaders assembled to confront problems troubling U.S. elections. Its report offers 87 recommendations to strengthen the country's electoral system and build voters' confidence in the political process.
To read the full report of the Carter-Baker commission, click here.
To read a news release summarizing the commission's findings, click here.
In an interview to be published by AAAS Tuesday (20 September), Malcom is expected to address the problems discovered by the commission and the recommendations it offered.
Malcom was one of the few science and technology experts on the Carter-Baker Commission. In 2004, she was one of the chief organizers of a AAAS initiative that convened a panel of top scholars on elections and voting technology to evaluate problems that had brought the voting system under close and often critical scrutiny in recent elections.
In its deliberations, the AAAS panel found that the American system of voting is broadly vulnerable to error and abuse. The panelists called for a crash-course of study and reform to make election results more reliable by improving technology and creating better access for votersespecially those who have historically encountered serious impediments to voting.
The AAAS panel later delivered a report detailing its concerns and recommendations.
The Carter-Baker Commission has been managed by the American University Center for Democracy and Election Management in Washington, D.C.
Edward W. Lempinen
19 September 2005