Home Elections Must read Jessica Huseman on HR 1

Must read Jessica Huseman on HR 1


Jessica Huseman is one of the journalists who have specialized in election management issues in recent years. Although she largely supports HR 1 in principle, she does published a stark criticism argued that the bill would throw electoral administration into “chaos”. For this post I don’t want to use the title of her Daily Beast section as it’s too provocative, but the title is How This Voting Rights Measure Can Turn Next Election Into A Cluster * ck.

I know a lot about election management, but I don’t talk to election managers as much as Huseman. Therefore, I cannot independently judge the accuracy of the statements made in her work, but I take her work very seriously. Here are some snippets – you really have to read them in full to get all the details:

Although the principles of the bill are commendable – its provisions on redistribution and campaign finance are essential – and will help the United States face the very real problem of voter repression. , but it is written without the seemingly consultation of electoral administrators, and it shows. While the overall message is positive, it comes with deadlines and requirements that electoral admins cannot meet without throwing their systems into chaos….

The sections of the bill relating to the voting system – completely separate from its provisions on voting rights – show very little understanding of the problems with which authors apply regulatory solutions. in an alarming manner. Many of the changes requested by electoral administrators are literally impossible to implement. Others will substantially increase the cost of voting but will not provide guaranteed long-term funding.

It empowers one agency – the US Election Assistance Committee – that was criticized less than a year ago for the poor and impatient management of Democrats pushing the bill. And, for its purposes, the bill would make elections less secure by forcing states to rush enormous changes into deeply impractical timeframes. Corrections are so much needed and actionable, so it is unacceptable that the authors of the Senate bill ignore the opportunity to improve it.

“To be honest, I don’t know what they’re thinking,” said the head of an election nonprofit. “That’s a bad bill. The goals may be admirable, but it’s a bad bill. “The electoral administrators used the word F a lot in my conversations with them, frustrated that they were eagerly looking for federal funding and basic attention to their offices, just to be assigned impossible goals that they would be solely responsible for the meeting.This person was not the only one who refused to name when I asked for more than 15 administrators to vote – mixed officials federal, state, and local authorities – commenting on the bill It is easy to understand why they hesitate to give their candid opinion.

Most officials enthusiastically agree to the protections of voting rights, and these administrators feel they can risk the chance of improving the voting of the bill by voicing their opposition. for its lesser requirements.

One example: The bill clearly gives voters whose states and counties are not in compliance with the ability to sue their jurisdictions, leaving electoral offices already under-cashed out of fear. that they will face costly lawsuits for not being able to jump over the markers. unrealistic high set.

In addition, the bill requires states to purchase paper-backed voting machines that comply with brand new standards passed by the Election Assistance Commission just a few weeks ago. A commendable goal and an essential one. But the bill sets conflicting deadlines for this requirement: in early 2022 in one section and to the November general election in another.

However, the bigger problem is that the machines required by the invoice don’t even exist yet. Election Assistance Commission laboratories say they need an additional 8 to 12 months to develop and refine the new process for certifying the electoral system to new standards. Device certification can only start after the process is complete. Machines that are backed by paper and certified to the new standard will not be widely circulated until 2025. The original bill was written before these instructions were passed, which gives very little. reason for refusing to update an invoice on a reasonable time.

The bill also requires states to implement automatic voter registration (AVR) by 2023, a process by which a citizen interacting with a motor vehicle division or social service agency will also be registered. vote immediately. A commendable goal, but again, takes more time and resources than the bill. This process not only requires updating the voter registration system, but also updating the systems of many other state and even federal agencies so that the databases of the agencies can talk to each other.

The states with effective AVR systems took years to implement them. When California and Illinois rushing process, it leads to errors like Voter registration is not eligible, eligible voters registered incorrectly, and security hole. Illinois still failed to fully comply with its laws more than three years later. The taxonomical failures of this hasty policy fueled Republican opposition to AVR, WHO often only for ineffective systems as a reason not to extend practice practice. HR 1 asks us to take that same critical defect in more states, potentially taking the AVR as a policy target.

Likewise, the bill requires states to implement voter registration using a “automated phone-based system” —a wild, almost certainly insecure idea that no state currently uses and that Election officials are confused. Currently, there is no voting provider offering such a system, which means states will have to create this system from scratch. The bill does not provide the time or the means to fulfill this need. The people responsible for drafting this clause said the disability advocates requested it, but I cannot confirm this. I have yet to find a disability organization involved in voter access that says they want or need a voter registration option over the phone.

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