Washington, D.C. — With voting rights and fair elections under serious threat nationwide, a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is warning that our democracy is at risk unless Congress acts soon.
EAC Commissioner Benjamin Hovland made the comments in an interview with the Center for American Progress underscoring the need for Congress to pass legislation to protect free and fair elections, while also expanding Americans’ access to the ballot box.
“Our democracy is at crossroads,” Hovland said in the interview. “Election officials and others have been sounding the alarm, and if we do not take real steps to address these threats, our democracy will be in peril.”
Hovland, a Democratic appointee and former chair of the commission, has a unique vantage point regarding the state of election preparedness and ongoing threats to democracy. His agency helps states improve their voting systems, distributes federal funds to buy state-of-the-art equipment, and acts as a central clearinghouse of information on election administration.
According to Hovland, state and local election officials administered the 2020 election very successfully, despite the historic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet serious threats exist to upcoming elections, including widespread misinformation and disinformation about the validity of election results, threats against election officials, and new state laws designed to suppress certain voters and sabotage elections, among other challenges.
“America’s Democracy is in danger,” said Michael Sozan, a senior fellow at CAP who conducted the interview. “Hovland shines a bright light on the many reasons why Americans should have faith in the election system. But he also offers a sober assessment of the perilous path ahead for free and fair elections. The time has come for the Senate to do whatever it takes to pass urgently needed voting rights legislation—especially if we are to achieve the goal of being a truly multiracial democracy where all voices are heard and every American has the opportunity to succeed.”
Read the column: “Democracy in Peril: A Q&A About the Future of Elections with EAC Commissioner Benjamin Hovland,” by Michael Sozan
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