Statement of People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas On Carter-Baker Commission Report on Election Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2005

Contact: Stacey Gates or Nick Berning at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

Today, People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas issued the following statement about the new report from the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform:

“The Carter-Baker Commission report is the result of a flawed process, so it is not surprising that its results are so underwhelming. While some of the report’s recommendations make sense, others would actually make it harder for Americans to vote, and People For the American Way will vigorously oppose their implementation.

“The process by which this report was created suffered from a lack of transparency and a failure to take relevant data into account. The commission held only two hearings and invited no public comments about the issues it was considering. It relied more on anecdote and hyperbole than thorough research and expert, fact-based analysis.

“The most troubling of the commission’s conclusions is that citizens should be required to present a national identification card, known as the ‘REAL ID’ card, in order to vote. This would make it much harder for many Americans to vote. Another troubling aspect of the report is that it recommends permanently disenfranchising some people convicted of felonies, even though a majority of Americans favor restoring voting rights to those who have completed their sentences and returned to their communities to lead productive lives.

“People For the American Way does support the commission’s calls for non-partisan election administration, improved poll-worker training, and more effective enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, if these proposals are included in legislation that also contains measures that would make it harder for some Americans to vote, People For the American Way would be forced to oppose that legislation.”