Slideshow: The Senate’s Broken Confirmation Process

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Former U.S. Election Assistance Commissioners Rosemary Rodriguez, left, Caroline Hunter, center, and Donetta Davidson, right, meet at the E.A.C. offices May 15, 2008 in Washington. The EAC currently does not have any commissioners. (AP Photo/William B. Plowman)

Election Assistance Commission

All four of the commissioner seats — two for Democrats, two for Republicans — are currently vacant, as are the general counsel executive director positions. The commission was established in 2002 by the Help America Vote Act to make sure that no election would again be as disputed as the 2000 election. In the Senate, Republicans have refused to submit nominations for the board’s two Republican commissioners. Many Republicans believe that if they refuse to nominate officials to head agencies that they wish would go away, their wish might come true. The Democrats’ two nominations — Myrna Pérez of the Brennan Center for Justice and Thomas Hicks, formerly of Common Cause — have been awaiting a confirmation vote since spring 2011.

In 2011, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced a bill to close the Election Assistance Commission, saying it had “clearly served its purpose and is no longer essential to the administration of our elections.” The bill passed the House, but did not get through the Senate. Harper reintroduced the bill for the 113th Congress on January 15, 2013.

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