This episode examines an important government agency that helps keep our voting systems current, transparent, and reliable. The U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (“EAC”) has existed for a little over 20 years. It was created in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election and the Florida vote recount. In today’s political climate of distrust and controversy regarding, among other things, the voting process and vote counting, the EAC plays an integral role in ensuring the integrity of the election process.
Our guest is Commissioner Donald Palmer, one of four EAC commissioners. He discusses with Jan the role of the EAC and his former experiences administering elections in Florida and Virginia. Commissioner Palmer also discusses EAC’s testing and certification of voting machines, including the Dominion Voting Systems used in the 2020 election, and the security of future U.S. elections.
About Donald Palmer
Commissioner Donald Palmer serves on the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) after being nominated and approved by unanimous consent in 2019. He served as the Chairman of the Commission in 2021. He is currently the Designated Federal Officer for the EAC Board of Advisors. Before the EAC, he served as a Bipartisan Policy Center Fellow, advancing the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.
Don is a former Secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections and served as the Commonwealth’s Chief Election Official from 2011 to 2014. During that time, he established Virginia as a founding member of the Election Registration Information Center (ERIC), a group of states working together to maintain the accuracy of voter registration rolls.
Don has also served as Florida’s Director of Elections, where he expanded the Florida voting system state certification program and modernized the state’s voting machines. Prior to his work in election administration, he served as a trial attorney with the Voting Section in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where he enforced the nation’s voting laws.
Finally, Don is a military veteran, retiring from the U.S. Navy after two decades as an intelligence officer and judge advocate general.