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EAC "Faces Partisanship Allegations"

The Washington Post reports: In late 2003, the first four commissioners of the newly formed, bipartisan Election Assistance Commission were given a tall order: Help states overhaul their election procedures so that the acrimony that followed the contested 2000 presidential election would not be repeated. ...

But, three years later, as it prepares for its second presidential election, the agency is facing far more serious problems: inquiries over a rash of allegations of partisan decision making.

Commissioners blame management failures and incomplete policies that have plagued the agency since the beginning. "We weren't able to develop a really strong foundation as a federal agency," said Gracia H. Hillman, the only commissioner who has been on the panel from the beginning.

Activist groups have raised questions about whether, in response to pressure from the Justice Department, the commission altered or delayed research to play down findings on sensitive topics such as voter fraud and voter identification laws that many Republican figures and appointees would have found objectionable.

"There has been increasing evidence of improper attempts to exert political pressure on the EAC to influence the agency's decisions on election-related matters," said Wendy Weiser, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the liberal Brennan Center of Justice at New York University School of Law, who has reviewed thousands of pages of the commission's internal documents.

Meanwhile, the agency's inspector general, Curtis Crider, is investigating the agency's research into voter fraud, voter intimidation and voter identification laws. -- Panel Faces Partisanship Allegations - washingtonpost.com

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