In our state, the focus is on strengthening the State Election Commission’s authority to standardize election practices in the 46 counties. It would give the state commission power to “supervise” how county boards of elections operate in ensuring that state laws are followed in each county.
In a letter to lawmakers, McMaster cited state law requiring a witness signature on absentee ballots, with the governor saying the law was not followed by all counties in the state. “Some counties were employing a hodgepodge of different and inconsistent processes.”
While that was in part due to a series of court rulings that put the requirement in off-again, on-again status, ensuring consistency is necessary going forward.
The biggest hang-up in the legislation is changing the makeup of the State Election Commission.
Under current law, the governor appoints the five members of the board. One must be a member of the majority party in the General Assembly and another a member of the minority party.
The proposed changes call for five members of a nine-person board to be appointed by the governor. Four of those five could be from the governor’s political party.
The president of the Senate would appoint two members, one selected with the recommendation from the majority party in the Senate and one from the minority party. The speaker of the House would have to do the same as the Senate president and chose one person appointed by the majority party and one from the minority.