House Republicans want to defund an agency that ensures secure voting

Republicans are thinking about cutting funding to a program that could keep elections safe from foreign tampering

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 18, 2017 9:51AM (EDT)

 (AP/David Goldman)
(AP/David Goldman)

Even as the American public continues to be rocked by details about the unseemly relationship between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and the Russian government led by President Vladimir Putin, House Republicans plan on cutting funding to an agency that can protect voters from foreign meddling.

The plan is to defund the Election Assistance Commission, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The agency's responsibility is to protecting the voting process is secure in American elections, one that its Republican detractors claim can be carried out by the Federal Election Commission and/or is best left to the states.

As Republican Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia put it, "People supporting the EAC are quite frankly proponents for a greater federal role in our elections. States themselves, they’re responsible for all the elections. We do not have a federally run election system."

By contrast, Democratic Rep. Tom Quigley of Illinois said that "cutting funding to it is a green light to Putin to do it again," referring to the accusations that Putin hacked into the 2016 election and tried to meddle in its outcome.

On its website, the EAC writes that they were "established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). EAC is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as audits the use of HAVA funds."

The site adds, "Other responsibilities include maintaining the national mail voter registration form developed in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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