After the 2000 Florida election debacle, Congress established a body called the Election Assistance Commission to improve voting and democracy in this country. Two years ago, the commission approached me about doing a project that would take a preliminary look at voter fraud and intimidation and make recommendations for further research on the issues.
Because my approach to election issues tends to be more closely aligned with Democrats, I was paired with a Republican co-author. To further remove any taint of partisanship, my co-author and I convened a bipartisan working group to help us. We spent a year doing research and consulting with leaders in the field to produce a draft report. What happened next seems inexplicable. After submitting the draft in July 2006, we were barred by the commission’s staff from having anything more to do with it.
What was the problem? In all the time we were doing our research and drafting the report, neither the staff nor the commissioners, who were continually advised of our activities and the substance of our work, raised any concerns about the direction we were going or the research findings.