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110th Congress                                            Rept. 110-886
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================



 
FEDERAL EMPLOYEES DESERVE TO VOLUNTEER ON THE ELECTIONS ACT OF 2008 OR 
                        THE FEDVOTE ACT OF 2008

                                _______
                                

               September 25, 2008.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania, from the Committee on House Administration, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 6339]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on House Administration, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 6339) to amend title 5, United States Code, to 
provide additional leave for Federal employees to serve as poll 
workers, and to direct the Election Assistance Commission to 
make grants to States for poll worker recruitment and training, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon with 
amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendments (stated in terms of the page and line 
numbers of the introduced bill) are as follows:
    Page 3, line 14, strike ``nonpartisan''.
    Page 4, line 16, strike ``nonpartisan''.

  Federal Employees Deserve To Volunteer on the Elections Act of 2008


                       PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION

    Across the country, election administrators struggle to 
recruit and properly train a sufficient numbers of poll 
workers. The Election Assistance Commission estimates that 
approximately two million poll workers are needed to run a 
national election. However, in the last national election in 
2004, there was a shortage of over 50,000 poll workers. A 
recent study by the National Associations of Counties reported 
that 54% of offices surveyed had been unable to staff polls 
fully on Election Day. Federal employees, who are uniformly 
literate, well-trained and often bilingual, can be a valuable 
resource to state and local election officials on Election Day 
and should be encouraged to be actively involved in civic 
engagement activities in their communities.
    H.R. 6339, would allow Federal employees to receive 
administrative leave for up to 6 days per year to serve as poll 
workers for their state or local governments on Election Day 
and to receive any mandatory pre-election training. H.R. 6339 
instructs the Office of Personnel Management to formulate the 
regulations necessary to establish a workable and effective 
administrative leave program for Federal employees choosing 
volunteer at the polls. It is intended that this administrative 
leave program will operate similarly to the manner in which 
Federal employees presently use administrative leave for jury 
duty and other excused time away from the office not covered by 
sick or vacation leave. The Office of Personnel Management will 
establish guidelines that balance both the federal agency's 
need for continuous operations and a Federal employee's desire 
to volunteer for the nation.
    In addition, H.R. 6339 provides $75 million in grants to 
States for recruiting and training poll workers using the 
Elections Assistance Commission's well regarded manual on best 
practices for poll worker recruiting, training and retention. 
The grants can only be used to pay for the training and 
recruitment of poll workers. In order to maximize participation 
among eligible states, the Committee adopted an amendment 
offered by Rep. Lofgren that struck the requirement in Section 
3 of the bill that all poll workers trained and recruited with 
grant money be ``nonpartisan.'' This amendment acknowledges 
that certain states require the disclosure of the party 
affiliation of their poll workers. The bill further requires 
detailed reporting by the grantees to the Election Assistance 
Commission and by the Commission to Congress on the activities 
and administration of the grant program.
    Finally, H.R. 6339 exempts the Elections Assistance 
Commission from the Paperwork Reduction Act in order to 
increase its efficacy and make it easier for the agency to 
request information from the public without having to first 
secure approval from the Office of Management and Budget.

               SECTION-BY-SECTION SUMMARY OF LEGISLATION

Section 1. Short title

    (a) States the bill's short title as the ``Federal 
Employees Deserve to Volunteer on the Elections Act of 2008'' 
or the ``FEDVOTE Act of 2008''.

Section 2. Leave to serve as a poll worker

    (a) Amends Subchapter II of chapter 63 of Title 5 of the 
United States Code by adding new section Sec. 6329.
    (b) Provides that a federal employee in or under an 
Executive agency is entitled to leave of up to 6 days, without 
loss of or reduction in pay, leave to which otherwise entitled, 
credit for time or service, or performance or efficiency rating 
in order to provide election administration assistance to a 
State or unit of local government on any election day for 
public office, or to receive training for such administrative 
assistance.
    (c) Directs the Director of the Office of Personnel 
Management to prescribe regulations for the administration of 
this section.

Section 3. Grants to States

    (a) Directs the Election Assistance Commission to make 
grants to eligible States for the recruitment and training of 
poll workers.
    (b) Directs States that receive poll worker grants to make 
use of the Commission's manual on successful practices for poll 
worker recruitment, training and retention, and to develop 
training programs with the participation and input of experts 
in adult learing.
    (c) Requires that a State, in order to be eligible to 
receive grants, file an application with the Commission at such 
time and in such manner and containing such information as the 
Commission shall require.
    (d) Stipulates the amount of the grant made to any State 
under this subsection shall be equal to the product of the 
aggregate amount made available for grants to State and the 
voting age population percentage for the State.
    (e) Requires each State recipient of a grant to submit a 
report to the Commission within 6 months on the activities 
conducted with the funds provided by the grant.
    (f) Requires the Commission to submit a report to Congress 
within one year of the date the final grant is made to a State, 
detailing the grants made the activities conducted by the 
recipient States and such recommendations the Commission 
considers appropriate.
    (g) Authorizes an appropriation of $75,000,000.

Section 4. EAC exemption

    (a) Amends Section 3502(1) of Title 44 of the United States 
Code to exempt the Election Assistance Commission from the 
Paperwork Reduction Act.

               COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION OF THE LEGISLATION


                       INTRODUCTION AND REFERRAL

    On June 20, 2008, Ms. Zoe Lofgren of California (for 
herself, Mr. Van Hollen, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Mr. Tom Davis 
of Virginia, Ms. Norton, and Mr. Hoyer) introduced H.R. 6339; 
which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government 
Reform and additionally to the Committee on House 
Administration.

                                HEARINGS

    On October 3, 2007, the Committee on House Administration 
Subcommittee on Elections held a hearing entitled ``The 
Importance of Poll Workers: Best Practices & Recommendations.'' 
The following subcommittee members were present at the hearing: 
Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren, Reps. Susan A. Davis, Artur 
Davis and Vernon Ehlers.

Witnesses

    1. The Honorable Michael Mauro, Secretary of State of Iowa
    2. Mr. Lance Gough, Executive Director, Chicago Board of 
Elections Commission
    3. Ms. Jennifer Collins-Foley, President, The Pollworker 
Institute
    4. Ms. Helen Purcell, Maricopa County Recorder and 
Elections Director, Maricopa County, Arizona

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On Wednesday, July 30, 2008, the Committee met to mark up 
H.R. 6339. The Committee ordered H.R. 6339 reported favorably 
by voice vote with amendments.

             MATTERS REQUIRED UNDER THE RULES OF THE HOUSE


                         COMMITTEE RECORD VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of House rule XIII requires that the results of 
each record vote on an amendment or motion to report, together 
with the names of those voting for and against, to be printed 
in the committee report. No recorded votes occurred during 
committee consideration of H.R. 6339.

Amendment agreed to by voice vote

    The Committee agreed to technical amendments offered by Ms. 
Lofgren's, which struck the ``nonpartisan'' requirement from 
Section 3 of the bill providing for grants to States to train 
and recruit poll workers.

Amendments that were withdrawn

    After discussion in the Committee, Mr. Ehlers withdrew his 
offered Amendment No. 1, which would have struck Section 4 of 
the bill providing for exemption for the Elections Assistance 
Commission from the Paperwork Reduction Act. Mr. Ehlers also 
withdrew Amendment No. 2, which would have limited the 
Commission's exemption from the Paperwork Reduction Act to a 
period of one year from the date of enactment.
    The Committee voted to order H.R. 6339 reported favorably 
with amendments by a voice vote.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee states that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

                        CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY

    In compliance with clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII, the 
Committee states that Article 1, Section 4 of the U.S. 
Constitution grants Congress the authority to make laws 
governing the time, place and manner of holding Federal 
elections.

                         EARMARK IDENTIFICATION

    Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XXI, H.R. 6339 does not 
include any congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or 
limited tariff benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 9(e), or 
9(f) of rule XXI.

                        PREEMPTION CLARIFICATION

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 
requires the report of any committee on a bill or joint 
resolution to include a committee statement on the extent to 
which the bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt state 
or local law. H.R. 6339 would require states that accept 
federal grant monies under this bill to abide by grant 
requirements and that such requirements would preempt related 
state laws.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the to the bill, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 18, 2008.
Hon. Robert A. Brady,
Chairman, Committee on House Administration,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC,
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 6339, the Federal 
Employees Deserve to Volunteer on Elections Act of 2008.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickfard.
            Sincerely,
                                          Peter H. Fontaine
                                   (For Peter R. Orszag, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 6339--Federal Employees Deserve to Volunteer on the Elections Act 
        of 2008

    Summary: H.R. 6339 would authorize the appropriation of $75 
million for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to provide 
grants to state government to recruit and train poll workers. 
In addition, the legislation would provide executive branch 
employees with up to six days of paid leave per year for 
training and working at polling stations on election days.
    Assuming appropriation of the specified and necessary 
amounts, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 6339 would cost 
about $75 million over the 2009-2013 period. Although the bill 
could affect agencies not funded through annual appropriations 
(such as the Tennessee Valley Authority or the U.S. Postal 
Service), CBO estimates that any net increase in spending by 
those agencies would not be significant. As a result, enacting 
the bill would have a negligible impact on direct spending and 
would not affect revenues.
    H.R. 6339 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 6339 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall primarily within budget 
function 800 (general government).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2009     2010     2011     2012     2013   2009-2013
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Grants to States for Poll Workers:
    Authorization Level.................................       75        0        0        0        0        75
    Estimated Outlays...................................       75        0        0        0        0        75
Administrative Leave for Government Poll Workers:
    Estimated Authorization Level.......................        *        *        *        *        *         *
    Estimated Outlays...................................        *        *        *        *        *         *
    Total Changes:
        Estimated Authorization Level...................       75        *        *        *        *        75
        Estimated Outlays...............................       75        *        *        *        *       75
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: * = less than $500,000.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 
6339 will be enacted near the beginning of fiscal year 2009, 
that the amounts authorized will be appropriated for each year, 
and that outlays will follow historical spending patterns for 
similar programs. CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 6339 
would cost about $75 million over the 2009-2013 period, 
assuming appropriation of the those amounts.

Grants to States for poll workers

    Section 3 would authorize the appropriation of $75 million 
in fiscal year 2009 for grants to states for recruiting and 
training poll workers. Based on information from the EAC, CBO 
estimates that those amounts would be spent in 2009.

Administrative leave for Government poll workers

    Section 2 would allow federal employees to receive up to 
six days of paid administrative leave per year to serve as poll 
workers for elections. The leave would be similar to court 
leave (which allows for paid time off for service as a juror or 
witness). Under the legislation, the leave could be used to 
train for and work at polling stations on election days. Based 
on the information from the Office of Personnel Management 
regarding the volunteer rates of the working-age population at 
polling stations and the use of current administrative leave 
programs, CBO estimates that enacting section 2 would result in 
a negligible cost. That cost would reflect an increase in 
salary payments to federal employees for increased costs of 
accrued annual leave that otherwise might be used for poll 
service.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 6339 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. The bill would benefit state governments by 
providing grants to recruit and train poll workers.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Barry Blom and Matthew 
Pickford; Impact on state, local, and tribal governments: 
Elizabeth Cove; Impact on private sector: Paige Piper/Bach.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    H.R. 6339 makes no changes to existing law.

  MINORITY VIEWS OF THE HONORABLE VERNON J. EHLERS, THE HONORABLE DAN 
               LUNGREN, AND THE HONORABLE KEVIN McCARTHY

 H.R. 6339: Federal Employees Deserve To Volunteer on the Election Act 
                         of 2008 (FED VOTE Act)

    On July 30, 2008, the Committee on House Administration 
ordered H.R. 6339 reported favorably by voice vote. H.R. 6339 
provides for up to six days paid leave for a federal executive 
agency employee to be trained as and serve as a poll-worker, 
establishes a poll-worker recruitment and training grant 
program to be administered by the Election Assistance 
Commission, and exempts the Election Assistance Commission from 
the Paperwork Reduction Act. As we have repeatedly stated, we 
support efforts to recruit and train poll-workers; however, we 
have some reservations about the practicalities of H.R. 6339.

                  PAID LEAVE TO SERVE AS A POLL-WORKER

    Although the Committee on House Administration does not 
have jurisdiction over Section 2 of H.R. 6339 (and accordingly 
our Members were not able to offer amendments to this section), 
we have concerns about its practical implications.
    The sponsors of H.R. 6339 have likened it to those 
provisions of federal law providing for paid leave for federal 
employees for jury service.\1\ However, there are certain 
material differences between serving jury duty and serving as a 
poll-worker, which need to be taken into account, and which 
raise concerns about section 2 of H.R. 6339. For example, H.R. 
6339 does not account for the potential disruption to the 
workplace which may occur if multiple employees are 
concurrently absent. On the one hand, the odds of multiple 
employees from the same workplace being called to serve on a 
jury at the same time are by relatively low; but conversely, 
and by necessity, temporary poll-workers serve on Election Day, 
and poll-worker training sessions are generally held on a 
limited basis shortly before Election Day. Therefore, whereas 
the disruption caused by a single employee being absent to 
serve on a jury may be absorbed without too much trouble, the 
disruption caused by multiple employees being absent for up to 
six days at the same time may cause a serious disruption to an 
executive branch workplace. This unintended consequence amounts 
to a reduction in service, and adversely affects the citizens 
of this country who rely upon a functioning federal government. 
This concern is especially acute as it applies to sensitive 
federal government facilities, such as border crossing stations 
and offices providing immediate assistance to citizens.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ See 5 U.S.C. Sec. 6322.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    So while we fully support efforts to promote poll-worker 
recruitment and training, we must ensure that such efforts do 
not have a detrimental effect on the operation of the federal 
government. Consequently, we suggest that the Office of 
Management and Budget, in drafting regulations implementing 
H.R. 6339, take into account the nature of serving as a poll-
worker, and provide workplace supervisors with the discretion 
necessary to ensure that the operations of the federal 
government are not unduly disrupted on and around Election Day.
    In addition, we are concerned about the disparate impact of 
H.R. 6339. Locations such as Washington D.C., and other areas 
with large concentrations of federal executive branch 
employees, will benefit from H.R. 6339, unlike other areas of 
the United States where there may be fewer or no eligible 
employees, but where the need for poll-workers is no less 
critical.
    Likewise, we are concerned about the cost of H.R. 6339 to 
the federal government, and question the propriety of the 
federal government subsidizing the cost of state and local 
poll-workers. Although the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 
stated that the cost to the federal government of this 
provision is ``negligible,'' the CBO also acknowledges that 
their cost estimate does not account for lost productivity, and 
is based upon the current volunteer rates of the working-age 
population at polling stations (which does not account for the 
fact that currently most poll-workers are not part of the 
working-age population, or for the need for additional poll-
workers in 2008).\2\ Moreover, since this legislation does not 
provide for reimbursement by state and local jurisdictions for 
the cost of the paid leave of federal employees, this 
arrangement amounts to the federal government paying for the 
cost of poll-workers for federal, state and local elections. 
This intrusion of the federal government into the realm of 
state and local election administration points us down the 
slippery slope of federalizing elections, a concept we do not 
support.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Congressional Budget Office, Cost Estimate for H.R. 6339, 
issued August 18, 2008; available at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/96xx/
doc9695/hr6339.pdf (accessed August 25, 2008).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As a final matter, during the markup Mr. Ehlers expressed 
concern that federal employees who take advantage of the paid 
leave made available under H.R. 6339 would receive an unfair 
benefit by also being able to collect a stipend or other 
reimbursement from the state or local jurisdiction for serving 
as a poll-worker. Ms. Lofgren provided assurances that the text 
of H.R. 6339 prohibits a participating federal employee from 
receiving any stipend or other compensation for serving as a 
poll-worker while on paid administrative leave under the 
provisions of this bill, such as is the case with an employee 
who is entitled to paid time off without charge to leave for 
service as a juror or witness.\3\ Nonetheless, we urge the 
Office of Management and Budget, in drafting such regulations 
as are required under section 2(b) of H.R. 6339, to make clear 
this prohibition, which is the unambiguous intent of Congress.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ See 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5515 (which provides that employees must 
reimburse to their agency fees paid for service as a juror or witness).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT EXEMPTION

    Section 4 of H.R. 6339 would exempt the Election Assistance 
Committee from the Paperwork Reduction Act. We oppose such an 
exemption as drafted. The Committee has not held a hearing on 
this issue, and moreover, this is the first time this issue has 
come before the Committee. In particular, when the Committee 
held an Election Assistance Commission oversight hearing 
earlier this year, this issue was not brought up for 
discussion. Therefore, we are wary of moving ahead so quickly 
and with such finality on this issue.
    Mr. Ehlers intended to offer an amendment to strike this 
section entirely, with the hopes of working with the Majority 
to explore this issue further. Mr. Ehlers did offer an 
amendment to limit the duration of the exemption to one year, 
but withdrew this amendment after Ms. Lofgren agreed to work 
with him on a compromise. After working with the Majority on 
this issue, we agreed to proceed with a three-year trial 
exemption with the requirement that the EAC report back to the 
Congress to afford us the opportunity to review the impact of 
the PRA exemption.
    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), every time a 
federal agency proposes collecting information from ten or more 
people, the information collection must first be approved by 
OIRA through a clearance process.\4\ The purpose of the PRA is 
to minimize any unnecessary costs and burdens associated with 
federal reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Certain 
entities are statutorily exempt from the PRA: the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO), the Federal Election Commission 
(FEC), and government-owned contractor-operated facilities.\5\ 
The GAO is exempt because it is a legislative branch agency. 
The FEC's exemption is based upon a provision of law that has 
since been held unconstitutional.\6\ No other executive branch 
agency is exempt, in whole or in part, from the PRA. In 
addition, there does not appear to be a commonly accepted 
justification or rationale for such an exemption. Therefore, to 
enact section 4 of H.R. 6339 as drafted would establish a new 
statutory precedent, and accordingly Congress should act 
cautiously.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ 44 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 3501 et seq.
    \5\ 44 U.S.C. Sec. 3502.
    \6\ According to the legislative history of the PRA, which was 
passed in 1980, the FEC was exempted because of a provision in the 
Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1979 (Public Law 96-187) 
which made FEC regulatory action subject to a legislative veto; 
however, in 1983 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the legislative 
veto as contrary to the principles of bicameralism and presentment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    We are willing to consider an exemption of limited 
duration, with the requirement that the EAC report back to the 
Congress about the impact of the exemption. However, we 
reiterate our opposition to a permanent exemption at this time, 
and hope that the Majority will, in the meantime, provide a 
more thorough explanation for this special treatment to be 
accorded the EAC, especially in light of the agency's poor 
track record of organizational management.

                               CONCLUSION

    As we have stated repeatedly, we fully support efforts to 
attract and train poll-workers, especially younger people who 
have not traditionally served in this capacity. However, we 
have concerns about the practical implications of granting up 
to six days of paid leave for federal employees to serve as 
poll-workers, and moreover, we oppose exempting the EAC 
indefinitely from the Paperwork Reduction Act at this time.
                                   Vernon J. Ehlers.
                                   Daniel E. Lungren.
                                   Kevin McCarthy.