US Election Commissioner (EAC) Martinez Resigns
EAC Commissioner Martinez Resigns
Commissioner Met With Election Activists On Saturday
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA
April 10, 2006
The current vice chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Ray Martinez submitted his resignation to President George W. Bush this morning. Mr. Martinez' resignation will become effective June 30, 2006. He cited family considerations as his primary reason for stepping down and lauded his colleagues at the EAC and the agency's staff for their continued work on behalf of the nation.Martinez had been recommended for nomination by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) in 2003.
On April 8, Martinez had met with election integrity activists participating in a VoteTrustUSA leadership workshop. The Commissioner graciously and diplomatically fielded a barrage of questions from leading election refom advocates from across the country for well over and hour. The questions were challenging and well informed and reflected the growing crisis facing our democracy.
The day before he spoke at the VoteTrustUSA workshop, Martinez had presented a paper at a colloquium in Princeton, NJ. The paper presented four solutions to what he called the"alarming erosion" of American voter confidence following the last two presidential elections.
As reported on NJ.com:
"One of the most alarming trends in our country is the continual erosion of voter confidence in the accuracy of our tabulated results," Martinez said. "The 2000 presidential election has adversely affected the opinion of the average American on our electoral process.
"Since then, voter confidence has continued to trend in the wrong direction," Martinez added, "and it's unlikely to fade any time soon."
At the top of his list was the idea that every state perform a regular election audit to determine that the administration of elections is fair, impartial and consistent with voter intent. The results of these audits should be widely dispersed.
Part of the problem with recent elections, Martinez said, is that not every state has clear directives on what constitutes a vote for each type of machine used. Where there are ambiguities, election officials must make snap judgments that are later open to suspicion or calls of partisanship, he said.
A regular and uniform state audit of these matters, Martinez said, would go a long way towards curtailing voter suspicion.
Martinez also would like to see each state's chief election official take a conflict of interest oath. In it, these political appointees would adopt a voluntary pledge of impartiality, distancing them from the party that appointed them. They would likewise refrain from participating in partisan committees or meetings or raising money for any political groups that would call their credibility into question.
Third, Martinez said all election equipment vendors -- particularly the top tier officers in each company -- should take a similar conflict of interest oath, and that the vendor industry adopt a list of impartiality standards by which vendors must conduct themselves.
Prior to his appointment to the EAC, Mr. Martinez practiced law in Austin, Texas with a focus on legislative and regulatory matters and a client base consisting primarily of county governments and related public sector associations.
Mr. Martinez began his law practice after serving as Deputy Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House. In this position, he was responsible for assisting former President Bill Clinton with various policy issues affecting state and local jurisdictions. Additionally, while on the White House staff, Mr. Martinez assisted with the development of long-term strategies to stimulate economic growth along the U.S.-Mexico border region, and with the establishment of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission.
Before serving as Deputy Assistant to the President, Mr. Martinez served as regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Dallas, Texas where he focused agency resources on public health issues such as full implementation of the Children's Health Insurance Program. His federal government service began in 1993, when he was appointed White House Liaison to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and later as Special Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Political Affairs. Prior to his service in the federal government, Mr. Martinez worked as a legislative liaison for the Texas Attorney General's office.
ORIGINAL - http://www.electionline.org/Portals/1/docs/Martinez.resignation.April.10.2006.pdf
April 10, 2006
The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as one of four initial appointees to the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC). I am deeply honored at the trust you placed in me in October 2003 in nominating me to this important and historic agency charged with implementing what is, in my view, one of the most significant federal laws passed in recent history - the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HA V A). However, after much deliberation and thought, I write today to respectfully submit my resignation from the EAC, effective June 30, 2006.
I am leaving the EAC strictly for personal and family considerations. My wife, Beth, and I have been blessed with two wonderful children - Sofia Grace and Lorenzo Elder - and we have decided that it is in the best interest of our family to return home to Austin, Texas and focus on our future. Moreover, the recent and unexpected death of my mother has reinforced our desire to be closer to our immediate family.
It has been more than three years since I was first approached by former Senator Tom Daschle to serve on the EAC. After a longer than expected confirmation process, I have now served as an EAC commissioner for nearly two and a half years. During that time, the EAC has made significant progress in helping to improve all facets of election administration.
Notably, in its short history, the EAC has: (1) fully distributed historic and unprecedented federal funds to every eligible jurisdiction; (2) adopted the first set of revised voluntary voting system guidelines governing the accessibility and security of electronic voting equipment; (3) released the first set of voluntary guidance regarding statewide voter registration lists; (4) commissioned significant research and data collection designed to fulfill our obligation to serve as a "national clearinghouse" of election administration practices; and, in the months ahead, is (5) poised to transfer the national voting system certification program from the National Association of State Election Directors to the EAC, marking the first time in our country's history that the federal government will be involved in the certification of voting system hardware and software.
I am proud to have been significantly involved in the many accomplishments of this fine agency. I am also pleased to have emphasized, throughout my tenure, th~ importance of achieving a proper balance of responsibilities between federal, state and local governments in achieving the promise ofHA V A. Let me be clear in stating my support for the great tradition in our country of having the process of election administration be an obligation largely Tel: (202) 566-3100 www.eac.gov Fax: (202) 566-3127 Toll free: 1 (866) 747-1471 reserved to state and local governments. And yet, I also believe there is a compelling need for the EAC to remain as a permanent part of the election administration landscape - to work with administrators, advocates and academics alike in collaboratively improving all aspects of election administration, including the technology we use, the procedures which govern our elections, and the people involved in this process. The EAC represents a success story, owing largely to the bipartisan support of the United States Congress, and in particular, to the leadership of Senators Christopher!. Dodd and Mitch McConnell and Congressmen Steny H.
Hoyer and Bob Ney. I am grateful for their constant support and guidance, and that of their staff, over the past several years.
It should also be noted that the achievements of the EAC have occurred in large measure because of the hard work and professionalism of an exceptional group of dedicated agency employees. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to work alongside such outstanding public servants. Likewise, the ongoing commitment to fairness and equality exhibited by state and local election administrators from throughout the country has ensured that today, the mechanics of our great democracy has a renewed sense of focus on issues pertaining to both "access" and "integrity" in the process - two goals which should not be regarded, in my view, as mutually exclusive.
There is clearly more much work to be done to achieve the level of improvement that was expected when HA V A was overwhelmingly passed by Congress. As a commissioner, I have been vocal in expressing my concerns regarding what I view as a disturbingly negative trend in the confidence of the America public in the integrity of our election outcomes. It is my sincerest hope that, in the months and years to come, I wil be able to utilize the privilege of my garnered experience at the EAC to continue to offer sound and realistic solutions to improve the perception of fundamental fairness in the conduct of our elections. Still, I firmly believe we have already made significant progress since the passage ofHA VA and the creation of the EAC. And, this progress should be attributed not to anyone political party or philosophy, but to the collective efforts of so many individuals who have put aside partisan interests for the sake of furthering an American agenda. I am most proud to have been a part of that effort.
Finally, only in our great country could the child of an auto mechanic and homemaker - growing up in South Texas with few financial resources but an abundance of love and support - rise through the ranks to eventually serve at the request of not just one, but two, U.S.
presidents. I am most appreciative for the chance to serve my country in this regard and in doing so, to once again fulfill my life-long dream of public service. That dream does not end today. Perhaps in many ways, it is just beginning.
United States Election Assistance Commission