1) Would there be any constraints on the role the commissioners could play in the election? Obviously, they could vote and their party affiliations would be apparent, but campaigning or contributing funds to a candidate might compromise their credibility. 2) Upon what evidence would the commission base its assessment? Rather than create a large volunteer apparatus from scratch, the commission could convene a series of pre- and post-election “hearings,” in which groups that are already monitoring aspects of the process would present and be questioned about their findings. 3) What factors should the commission consider in making an assessment? The commission should receive information regarding the whole panoply of fairness issues, but its ultimate judgment should be based on just two factors: Did undue restrictions prevent interested and eligible voters from casting their ballots, and were the ballots tabulated accurately? 4) When should the commission issue its assessment? Given the commission’s role of reassuring the American public, it should be prepared to offer a final assessment only after the adjudication processes are resolved in the various states.
Larry Garber, Chevy Chase
The writer is a member of the
National Task Force on Election Crises.