In another blow to U.S. Democracy, House Republicans voted on Tuesday to eliminate an independent election commission charged with helping states improve their voting systems, several news outlets reported Tuesday afternoon. The move leaves the entire system vulnerable to potential election fraud.
The party-line vote came less than two days after the US president vowed to set up a White House commission helmed by the vice-president, Mike Pence, to pursue his false accusations of election fraud.
The Election Assistance Commission was created by Congress after the 2000 Florida recount to upgrade voting technology and provide election-related information to federal entities, state officials, and election administrators. Now those safeguards are no longer in place, which could lead to massive voter fraud.
Republicans have been introducing legislation to end the commission for years with little success. Now, with total control of Congress and the White House, they finally achieved their objective.
The GOP lawmakers who lead the effort to terminate the agency say it is a prime example of government waste, according to The Guardian.
“If we’re looking at reducing the size of government, this is a perfect example of something that can be eliminated,” said Representative Gregg Harper, the committee chairman, after the bill passed on a 6-3 vote. “We don’t need fluff.”
Harper said he had not spoken to Trump about the legislation. “He’s certainly welcome to call me at any time,” he said.
The bill was opposed by committee Democrats and voting rights groups, who argued that the federal agency played a vital role in protecting elections from hacking and other types of interference.
“At a time when the vast majority of the country’s voting machines are outdated and in need of replacement, and after an election in which foreign criminals already tried to hack state voter registration systems, eliminating the EAC poses a risky and irresponsible threat to our election infrastructure,” said Wendy Weiser, the democracy program director at the Brennan Center for Justice.