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Carter Baker Commission Stirs Controversy

Jimmy Carter and James Baker seatedThe September 19th release of recommendations by a reform commission headed by Jimmy Carter and James Baker met with mixed reactions and concerns from some election reformers about photo identification requirements at the polls, and something like a dull thud in Congress.

FairVote applauds the commission for its endorsement of a more inclusive presidential primary schedule, high school civic education, nonpartisan elections officials, verified voting and articulating the goal of universal voter registration.

But the report falls short in the breadth of its recommended reforms. It stays silent on essential reforms like direct election of the president, redistricting reform, proportional voting systems and instant runoff voting. Moreover, the report turns away from the ideal of nationwide standards for running federal elections founded on a constitutional right to vote, instead accepting the familiar state-by-state patchwork of rules.

FairVote's Executive Director Rob Richie was an academic advisor to the commission.

[ Visit the Commission's website ]

[ Read a dissent by one of the Commission members, Spencer Overton ]
[ Rob Richie quoted in the Christian Science Monitor ]
[ Carter addresses FairVote proposals with students at AU ]
[ Rob Richie and Steven Hill highlight the positive in new op-ed ]