This week Commissioner Matthew Masterson was elected Chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), a position he will hold for one year. Masterson will continue to serve alongside EAC Commissioner Thomas Hicks, who now moves from the role of Chairman to Vice Chair, and Commissioner Christy A. McCormick. As a former Ohio election official and having served as a member of the EAC’s Testing and Certification team, Masterson knows the EAC is a vital resource for state and local election administrators, voters, and stakeholders. There are more than 8,000 election jurisdictions in the United States, each facing mounting pressures that stem from concerns such as cybersecurity and aging voting equipment. He plans to spend the coming year as Chairman helping to make sure their needs are met and their voices are heard.
Chairman Masterson has identified three areas of concern to state and local election officials that will tell his agenda for the coming year, including:
- Supporting and empowering state and local election officials as they deal with pressures stemming from America’s aging election system infrastructure.
- Working to bridge the information gap between the Department of Homeland Security and state election officials who are still wondering how the department’s decision to designate election systems as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure will impact their day-to-day operations.
- Ensuring improved election accessibility for voters with disabilities, Limited English Proficiency Voters, as well as military and other Americans voting overseas.
Chairman Masterson assumes this new role amid the EAC’s #GamePlan17 work to prepare for next year’s midterm elections. That effort will be largely informed by lessons learned in 2016 and the Commission’s 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), the most comprehensive set of data regarding election administration and voting across the United States. EAVS is slated for release at the end of June. His election also comes less than a week after a set of 17 core voting system functions that will guide the EAC’s next generation of Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) was adopted by the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), a step that sets the stage for the new voting system guidelines to be completed by 2018. This spring the EAC is also poised to release a new website that will feature a cutting-edge, user-friendly design. The site will also become the new permanent home for the popular tools and guidance stemming from the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA).
Masterson was recommended by former Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio) and nominated to serve as an EAC Commissioner by President Barack H. Obama. He was confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on December 16, 2014. Before his EAC appointment, Chairman Masterson served as Interim Chief of Staff for the Ohio Secretary of State, whom he had previous served as a Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Information Officer. In his earlier position of Deputy Director of Elections for the State of Ohio, Chairman Masterson was responsible for voting system certification efforts by the Secretary of State’s office, including being the liaison to the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners. He was also in charge of Ohio’s effort to develop an online voter registration system and online ballot delivery for military and overseas voters.
Prior to joining the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, Chairman Masterson held multiple roles at the Election Assistance Commission. Masterson joined the EAC staff in 2006 as a Special Assistant/Counsel to Chairman Paul DeGregorio. He went on to serve as Deputy Director for the EAC’s Voting System Testing and Certification Program. In this role, his primary responsibility was the creation of the next iteration of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). Chairman Masterson worked with the EAC’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the creation of the TGDC’s recommended Voluntary Voting System Guidelines. In addition to these responsibilities, he managed the day to day business of the EAC’s laboratory accreditation program, including the creation of the EAC’s Voting System Test Laboratory Program Manual.
About the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC)
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as audits the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit eac.gov.