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Fairness is the key ingredient

An independent federal election commission intended to help states with their voting systems should be eliminated, members of a House of Representatives committee voted this week.

Created after the 2000 presidential election raised questions about fairness and honesty, the Election Assistance Commission is supposed to help states improve voting technology. Its mission also is to disseminate useful information to state elections officials.

Lawmakers who voted to do away with the commission said it is a waste of taxpayers’ money. That may well be true. A quick check with a few elections officials in the states should settle the matter.

No doubt critics of the action will insist the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is trying to clear the way for vote fraud. That is nonsense, of course. Agencies that waste taxpayers’ money should not be allowed to cite their statutory missions as protection.

But given questions about the election last fall, members of Congress may want to consider whether a truly helpful federal program should be established to help states keep elections fair.

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