presidents to oversee National Commission on Federal Election
Former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter
and Gerald Ford have agreed to serve as active hon- orary, bipartisan
co-chairs of the newly established National Commission on Federal
Election Reform, being organized by the Miller
Center of Public Affairs and The Century Foundation.
Former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker and former White House counsel Lloyd
Cutler will co-chair the commission, which will recommend ways
to improve the process used for electing federal officials, namely
the president, vice president and members of Congress. Its initial
focus will be on improving and standardizing the processes now
being used to cast and count ballots for elected federal offices.
is not a commission to rewrite the Constitution or re-fight the
contest in Florida," Carter and Ford said in a joint statement.
"Instead, we hope to bring together thoughtful people from across
the political spectrum to think about how our democratic institutions
can improve the way our nation elects the leaders of our federal
government, including the use of state-of-the-art technology."
In addition to holding meetings and public hearings throughout
the country, the commission will have an interactive Web site
to provide citizens with the opportunity to stay informed about
its work and offer their suggestions. The commission plans to
release its report in 2001, in time to help inform the ongoing
legislative efforts of the 107th Congress.
applaud the attention White House and Congressional leaders are
giving to election reform," Carter and Ford said. "We plan to
prepare a report and sponsor research that will be of real use
to the Congress and the administration as they move forward."
commission will sponsor task forces to support its work on such
subjects as the "best practices" being developed by
state and local election officials, the evolution of the federal
electoral process, and legal issues to be considered -- including
the appropriate role of the federal government.
served both as Senate majority leader and as chief of staff to
President Reagan. Cutler, a Washington attorney, served as White
House counsel both to presidents Carter and Clinton.
The commission will be the ninth in a series of national commissions
organized by the Miller Center on issues confronting the presidency.
The Century Foundation, formerly known as the Twentieth Century
Fund, has a long history of establishing similar task forces and
commissions to examine and suggest reform in political processes
and public policy.
commission will receive no public funds. Its work will be made
possible by a group of foundations, led by the William and Flora
Hewlett Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Zelikow, director of the Miller Center and White Burkett Miller
Professor of History, will be executive director of the commission.
He will work in cooperation with Richard C. Leone, president of
The Century Foundation.
members of the commission will be named soon.