Obama announces his election commission team

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

President Barack Obama on Tuesday filled out his Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which was created to improve election systems in the United States.

"As I said in my State of the Union Address, when any American, no matter where they live or what their party, is denied that right [to vote] simply because too many obstacles stand in their way, we are betraying our ideals," Obama said in a statement Tuesday. "We have an obligation to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots without unwarranted obstructions or unnecessary delay."

Obama, who announced that the commission member limit would change from nine to 10, had previously revealed the names of the commissions' bipartisan co-chairs: Bob Bauer, who served as Obama's counsel, and Republican attorney Ben Ginsberg, who worked for Mitt Romney.

The other appointees—a mix that Steve Croley, deputy White House counsel, explained in April would be people who "run elections for a living"—are: Brian Britton, vice president of global park operations and planning at Walt Disney; Joe Echevarria, CEO at Deloitte LLP; Trey Grayson, a Republican who lost to Rand Paul in the 2010 Kentucky Senate primary and who now serves as director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; Larry Lomax, Clark County registrar in Nevada; Michele Coleman Mayes, vice president, general counsel and secretary for the New York Public Library; Ann McGeehan, assistant general counsel of the Texas County and District Retirement System; Tammy Patrick, federal compliance officer for the Maricopa County Elections Department in Arizona; and Christopher Thomas, Michigan's director of elections.

Per the executive order creating the committee, the commission will examine voting problems highlighted in the 2012 election, specifically potential voting obstacles facing members of the military, overseas voters, voters with disabilities and voters “with limited English proficiency." The training of polling workers, the operation of polling places and voting machines, ballot simplicity and overseas balloting were listed in the executive order as suggested areas of study.

Croley also said last month that the White House would take a hands-off approach to the commission, allowing it to set the agenda.

The commission is due to submit a report to the president within six months detailing its findings. They will be produced in part through significant outreach to those connected to the country's election systems.

Many voting rights advocates have expressed support for the commission but have reserved judgement on its effectiveness until it begins operations.