Obama announces bipartisan election commission

President Obama speaks about the deadly tornadoes that hit Oklahoma earlier this week, from the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2013.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Making good on one of his State of the Union promises, President Obama on Tuesday announced a presidential commission on election administration, a 10-person committee aimed at identifying "non-partisan" ways to make the voting process more efficient, according to a White House statement.

"The right to vote is one of the most essential rights provided by the Constitution. As I said in my State of the Union Address, when any American, no matter where they live or what their party, is denied that right simply because too many obstacles stand in their way, we are betraying our ideals," Mr. Obama said Tuesday in a White House press release. "We have an obligation to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots without unwarranted obstructions or unnecessary delay."

The commission will be led by co-chairs Democrat Robert Bauer and Republican Benjamin Ginsberg. Bauer is a partner at Perkins Coie LLP and general counsel to the Democratic National Committee, and served as counsel for the president's first election campaign. Ginsberg is a partner at Patton Boggs LLP and was formerly general counsel for the Republican National Committee.

The commission's other members include Brian Britton, the Vice President of Global Park Operations and Initiatives at Walt Disney World Company; Joe Echevarria, CEO of Deloitte LLP; Trey Grayson, the Director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; Larry Lomax, the Clark County Registrar in Nevada; Michele Coleman Mayes, the vice president, general counsel, and secretary for the New York Public Library; Ann McGeehan, the assistant general counsel of the Texas County and District Retirement System; Tammy Patrick, a Federal Compliance Officer for the Maricopa County Elections Department in Arizona; and Christopher Thomas, the Director of Elections for the Michigan Department of State.

During the 2012 elections, voters in several states reported hours-long waits to vote, and tallies weren't completed in Florida for days after Election Day.

"I am pleased that these committed individuals have agreed to offer their expertise to the Presidential Commission on Election Administration," Mr. Obama said in his statement. "I look forward to working with them in the coming months."