Text: H.R.5631 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (11/14/2000)

 
[Congressional Bills 106th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 5631 Introduced in House (IH)]







106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 5631

   To establish a commission to study and make recommendations with 
               respect to the Federal electoral process.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           November 14, 2000

Mr. DeFazio (for himself and Mr. Leach) introduced the following bill; 
      which was referred to the Committee on House Administration

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To establish a commission to study and make recommendations with 
               respect to the Federal electoral process.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Federal Elections Review Commission 
Act''.

SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION; MEMBERSHIP.

    (a) Establishment.--There is established a commission to be known 
as the Federal Elections Review Commission (hereafter in this Act 
referred to as the ``Commission'').
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of the Commission shall be to study the 
nature and consequences of the Federal electoral process and make 
recommendations to ensure the integrity of, and public confidence in, 
Federal elections.
    (c) Membership.--The Commission shall be composed of 12 members, 
who shall be appointed as follows:
            (1) Three members shall be appointed by the President pro 
        tempore of the Senate based on recommendations by the majority 
        leader of the Senate.
            (2) Three members shall be appointed by the President pro 
        tempore of the Senate based on recommendations of the minority 
        leader of the Senate.
            (3) Three members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the 
        House of Representatives.
            (4) Three members shall be appointed by the minority leader 
        of the House of Representatives.
    (d) Qualifications of Members.--Members shall be appointed to the 
Commission from among individuals who--
            (1) have expertise in Federal election laws, the United 
        States Constitution, and the history of the United States, or 
        other pertinent qualifications or experience; and
            (2) are not officers or employees of the United States.
    (e) Other Considerations.--In appointing members of the Commission, 
every effort shall be made to ensure that the members--
            (1) represent a broad cross section of regional and 
        political perspectives in the United States; and
            (2) provide fresh insights to analyzing the Federal 
        electoral process in order to maintain the integrity of, and 
        public confidence in, such process.
    (f) Period of Appointment; Vacancies.--(1) Members of the 
Commission shall be appointed not later than 60 days after the date of 
enactment of this Act. Appointments shall be for the life of the 
Commission.
    (2) Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect the powers of 
the Commission, and shall be filled in the same manner as the original 
appointment.
    (g) Initial Meeting.--Not later than 30 days after the date on 
which all members of the Commission have been appointed, the Commission 
shall hold its first meeting.
    (h) Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.--The members of the 
Commission shall elect a chairperson and vice chairperson from among 
the members of the Commission.
    (i) Additional Meetings.--The Commission shall meet at the call of 
the chairperson.
    (j) Quorum.--A majority of the members of the Commission shall 
constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
    (k) Voting.--A vote of a member of the Commission with respect to 
the duties of the Commission shall have the same weight as the vote of 
any other member of the Commission.

SEC. 3. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.

    (a) In General.--The Commission shall examine the nature and 
consequences of the Federal electoral process and make recommendations 
to ensure the integrity of, and public confidence in, Federal 
elections.
    (b) Specific Issues To Be Addressed.--The Commission shall examine 
and report to the President, the Congress, and the Federal Election 
Commission on, at a minimum, the following:
            (1) The historic rationale for the electoral college, its 
        impact on Presidential elections, and the advisability of its 
        abolition or other options for reform, including the 
        possibility of proportional allocation of electors within 
        States.
            (2) Voter registration issues, including same-day 
        registration, universal registration, the impact of motor voter 
        registration, and the accuracy of voter registration rolls.
            (3) Ballot access issues, including the role of mail-in 
        balloting in Federal elections, and the distinction between 
        mail-in and absentee balloting, and the uniformity or lack 
        thereof of the deadlines for the receipt of ballots.
            (4) The feasibility and advisability of voting through the 
        Internet.
            (5) The impact of polling place closing times, the number 
        and accessibility of polling places, and training of poll 
        workers.
            (6) The impact of the physical ballot design, including the 
        technology used to cast and count votes and the uniformity of 
        such technology, consideration of a uniform design standard, 
        and the impact of the language used on ballots, simplicity of 
        language, and the use of foreign language ballots.
            (7) The adequacy of options available to voters and 
        candidates to seek redress for electoral irregularities.
            (8) The precedent for holding elections on a Tuesday in 
        November and the feasibility and advisability of changing to 
        multiple day elections, weekend elections, or expanding early 
        voting options, with a particular focus on the impact on voter 
turnout.
            (9) The history of Presidential debates, the role of the 
        Federal Election Commission on Presidential debates, including 
        the criteria established for participation in such debates, and 
        options for reform.
            (10) The impact of winner-take-all voting, and the 
        feasibility and advisability of election reforms such as 
        instant runoff voting, proportional representation, candidates 
        appearing on multiple ballot lines, and cumulative voting, with 
        a particular focus on the impact on voter turnout and expanding 
        political dialog.
            (11) The feasibility and advisability of limiting 
        campaigns, including advertising and fundraising, to a set 
        period of time.
            (12) The feasibility and advisability of uniform national 
        poll closing times in Presidential elections.
            (13) The Presidential primary process and options for 
        reform.

SEC. 4. FINAL REPORT.

    (a) In General.--Not later than 12 months after the date of the 
initial meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall submit to the 
President and the Congress a final report including--
            (1) the findings and conclusions of the Commission; and
            (2) recommendations for addressing the problems identified 
        as part of the Commission's analysis.
    (b) Separate Views.--Any member of the Commission may submit 
additional findings and recommendations as part of the final report.

SEC. 5. POWERS.

    (a) Hearings.--The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act 
at such times places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as 
the Commission may find advisable to fulfill the requirements of this 
Act. The Commission shall hold at least one hearing in the District of 
Columbia, and at least four hearings in other regions of the United 
States.
    (b) Information From Federal Agencies.--The Commission may secure 
directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the 
Commission considers necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act. 
Upon request of the chairperson of the Commission, the head of such 
department or agency shall furnish such information to the Commission.
    (c) Postal Services.--The Commission may use the United States 
mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other 
departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

SEC. 6. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.

    (a) Compensation.--Each member of the Commission shall be 
compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate 
of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under 
section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including 
travel time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of 
the duties of the Commission.
    (b) Staff.--(1) The chairperson of the Commission may appoint staff 
of the Commission, request the detail of Federal employees, and accept 
temporary and intermittent services in accordance with section 3161 of 
title 5, United States Code.
    (2) The employment of an executive director of the Commission shall 
be subject to the approval of the Commission.
    (3) The rate of pay for the executive director and other personnel 
of the Commission may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the 
Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

SEC. 7. SUPPORT SERVICES.

    The Administrator of General Services shall provide to the 
Commission on a reimbursable basis such administrative support services 
as the Commission may request.

SEC. 8. TERMINATION.

    The Commission shall terminate not later than the date that is 30 
days after the date the Commission submits its final report under 
section 4.

SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There are authorized to be appropriated $2,000,000 for the 
Commission to carry out this Act.
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