tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 27, 2015 8:00am-10:01am EDT
talk about a very large and very important into the, the united states postal service. one of the perhaps oldest on with united states army organization in the u.s. government, and about which there has been much written and even a movie or two or 30. and the post office is at a particular crossroads. ..
there is very big serious each is to be addressed. also a reluctance to confront these issues in the congress. not only do they have a lot to do, but they as you may have noticed have a hard time doing anything these days, they disagree about so much. we argued to say it is time to stop kicking the can down the road and start having an intelligent conversation about these big issues. to start s off today i am going to call on four people who know about this, and they will speak in turn and open up for questions from the audience. to my left is robert taub
dermott designated acting chairman of the postal regulatory commission by president obama on december 4th, 2014. he is new to the job but he was also sworn in as the commissioner in 2011 and elected vice chair in 2013. he came to the post office from the army where he was special assistant to the secretary of the army john mcyou and served as chief of staff to u.s. congressman john mccue for a whole decade. to his left is dr. robert shapiro, president and co-chairman and founder of a highly rated economic company in washington and senior fellow at the georgetown school of business at adviser to the international monetary fund director of the globalization center at the end and the
clinton administration undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs where he oversaw the statistical agencies and the senses, not at all a small job. to his left we have david williams, inspector general of the united states postal service. was sworn in as the second inspector general in august of 2003. he has a lot of years looking at this institution, responsible for a large staff located all over the country and investigates the largest civilian agency. in the government. and the obama administration on vice chair of the government accountability. to develop plans for transparency for spending.
we have gene del polito from the association of postal congress. the has been their last 35 years. affected advocate on behalf of those in business communications and commerce. he received j. edward day award that association anti sonogram to in recognition for distinguished service. and people i don't know if they will agree on anything. an introductory remarks. go ahead, robert. >> good morning. a few minutes for each of us to set the table three issues to give you some postal regulatory
commission, a postal service and more importantly a sense of what is going on with the postal service today particularly financially, there is bad news and good news and i will try to hit on both of that and lastly what i think is an important issue going forward which to me is the issue of universal service. why else do we have a government institution in the postal sphere if it wasn't to provide universal service for the american public at home or at work. postal service itself today is nearly $67 billion operation, half-million employees, 100% part of the government 100% part of the executive branch. it is not what the government, it is 100% united states government. however it receives no tax dollars to fund its operation. it is fully self sustaining to the rates that charge for
services that it provides. the regulatory commission is the entity that polices and has final authority over the postal service's prices, products services, adjudicate complaints regulatory commission like many in washington with commissioners appointed by the control of the senate and is independent and totally separate from the postal service. the commission is the regulator, not the operator of the postal system and the key point on that, why a regulator? the postal service is 100% part of the government. one of the few agencies that every day is operating in a very commercial market place and has many active customers who have no alternatives so it comes particularly to prices and products, because it is 100 present government entity with customers and the commercial marketplace, the idea is the commission is there to protect public interest in these
spheres. let me move to a snapshot of where things are with the postal service today. most of the attention we have seen and heard is bad news about their financials and it is bad news. they ended last year with a $5.5 billion net loss of that brought the total net losses over the last eight years to $51.87 billion. think about that for a minute. $51.7 billion over eight years. last year's loss was $500 million higher than the year before, $900 million higher than planned so in 2015 the total net loss is $750 million more. they paid $21 billion during the first five years of this eight year period to pre funded over the ambitious refunding mandate and have since default on that and have been unable to make any
future payments into the brief funding for future retiree health benefits, they maxed out on borrowing authority so they have no borrowing authority available land it is continuing to decline over all. total male bonding in 2014 dropped to levels not seen since 1987. in the face of that postal service over the past seven years reduced its workforce by 200,000 employees and cut costs by $16 billion and increased productivity. today the postal service delivers the same amount delivered in 1987 but with 173,000 fewer employees. even with these reductions and many more planned they don't have the cash to pay down the debt or make much-needed capital investment into their infrastructure, delivery vehicles and $10 billion of capital investment that
referred. with the economy and other events, it really is concerning about their liquidity service estimates they have 20 days of liquidity. despite all the bad news there is good news, there is strength in the system. as i mentioned the postal service is the one entity that touches every american at home or at work. the postal service literally delivers 150 million delivery points on a typical day to american households and businesses. facilitates trillions of dollars of commerce, $900 billion is the estimate of the industry the postal delivery sector and postal service is a key cog and part of employing nearly 8 million americans. there are positive signs, total first quarter volume, has shown
good science. that is without non-cash workers' comp and pre funding mandates i have mentioned. the postal service has net operating income of $1 billion which is $360 million better than planned and a high margin continues to decline, they are starting to see some modest increases in revenue particularly driven by increases in revenue volume from a shipping and package service fuelled by the growth of commerce. as he lay in mentioned this 240 year history of the postal service despite its challenges to date there is immense stress in the system and i would argue the postal service throughout its 240 history has dealt with numerous disasters, numerous challenges great depression and despite expected calls for to imminent decline has not only continued to operate but has thrived and i would argue postal service despite these challenges
the strength in the system will get it through. the last point i mention is how do we deal with this larger issue of challenges given the very scary financial news? i would argue this issue of universal service, why else is the postal service providing universal service? the postal regulatory commission in 2008 the study as mandated by law to define what is in the united states what are we defining universal service as? the commission came up with seven criteria. seven attributes that would make a definition of universal service, geographic, range of products, access to services delivery frequency affordability, quality of service and users' rights to enforce them. most other nations on the planet have very specific guidelines for many of not all of those
attributes. a lot are regulation of licensing. in the united states for much of our 204 years, instead we have not defined it. we expected the postal service to meet the needs of the nation balancing its budgetary constraints and except for the mandate in the annual appropriations bills in 1982, to provide six day delivery it has really been left to the postal service. the commission by law annually estimates what is the cost of universal service? current estimate is $5 billion. the challenge for the postal service it seems to me is getting all these other major financial challenges on its plate how do we ensure that the $5 billion of universal service costs is continuing to get into the postal service so it remains of sustaining? where do we look for the answers to those questions? i would argue we have to look at ourselves.
what is it that we as the american public needs from a postal service in 2015 to provide universal service? what is it we as americans expect for universal service and what is the cost? once we know that it seems to me we can ensure the postal service is structured in a way to ensure that money gets to the bottom line of the postal service. congress has been trying to deal with modernizing our nation's postal was. last congress both committees in the house and senate moved forward bills but the administration and its proposal all of them have been helpful i would argue none deal with the central bottom-line issue of what is it we expect from the nation's postal service. from my perspective we should focus from the policy debate. >> thank you. >> thank you.
is always a pleasure to be here at brookings. i am not here to praise or demean the postal service. i am here to try to describe how any economist looks at these questions and the conclusion, economic thinking brings to this problem. almost all governments have compelling reasons to communicate the subject of their citizens us some form of postal service has been a public good that most governments provide for a long time. this is an individual who wants to communicate with each other, private companies prepare to compete with postal services or at least a piece of their business when allowed by the law for example delivery of packages and united states. they have also been around for a long time. the spread of advanced technology, information and communications technology as elaine kamarck noted is only
intensified that competition since internet communications have displaced the monopoly of most postal systems which is the monopoly over the near universal delivery of letters mailed. we all stood -- we use to get our bills in the mail and not so often anymore. this draw the lot of attention all of you who showed up today, because most people in most businesses still need dependable postal service, mail service and providing that service on a universal basis costs of lot of money. when a public or semi public entity receive subsidies for providing a public service, there is a danger of those subsidies being leveraged into a competitive market one of the singular characteristics of the postal service is that it exists simultaneously in a monopoly
market where no one can compete. in a competitive market with competition. before addressing those issues i recently studied the subsidies themselves which the postal service receives and in the context of the costs that congress opposes on the coastal service congress requires the postal service to maintain residential delivery six days a week and the prc is estimated that reducing deliveries to five days a week which most of the public would support would save the postal service about $2.2 billion per year. congress mandates discounted rates for religious educational charitable, political, other non-profit organizations which the prc figures cost the postal service more than $1.1 billion every
year. every time i say prc i think of trident. it directs the postal service to provide a special mailing rate for periodicals, reached 6 the ability to close in the efficient post offices, estimate that costs $300 million a year and all told as robert suggested, prc estimates legal and regulatory requirements cost the postal service about $4.5 billion a year. this happens to correspond roughly with the postal service average reported deficit over the last decade, 5 cannon house office building this year, $4.2 billion average over the last decade. and to the commission's estimate of the total value of the postal service special privileges including its monopoly on
delivering letters, its exclusive access to residential and business mailboxes and the exemption from a lot of state and local factors so by this accounting proposal service is effectively self-sufficient financially. and an economist approaches it differently and comes to a different accounting. which suggests subsidies are substantially greater. i estimate be $18 billion per year. rather than $4.5 billion. for example, the commission estimates the postal service monopoly when accessed to residential and business mail boxes, worth $810 billion in the 2013 fiscal year. this is a very interesting provision and one that i was not aware of until i became part of this. it says the postal service, not
only the postal service, and leave a package in a residential business mail box, whether it is a herbicide mailbox or one in a central mail room. everybody else that makes deliveries, fedex, whoever individuals, has to leave the matt the front door of the residential business. that is a substantial burden in a large apartment house or business or office building. the postal service itself estimated that in 2008 ending the current private delivery companies accessing mailboxes would cost the postal service 1.5 to $2.6 billion a year and that was after all 2008. seven years ago. it is two to three times the estimate of the value of the
subsidy. it is going at it a different way. i am not saying there was any problem in the accounting of the way you approach it. how you conceptualize the subsidy. this is how an economist would conceptualize it. that is you would look at the volume of mail delivered to curbside mailboxes and centralized mail rooms and the cost of doing so compared to delivery to meet customer's door because that is the privilege they get as compared to the requirement for private companies. by that accounting the mailbox monopoly, the postal service, $14.9 billion. for fiscal 2013. which is another way of looking at the additional bearden on private delivery companies. the commission also valued the postal service as legal exemption from state and local
property and real-estate taxes, $315 billion in 2006 last time it was done adjusted for inflation, that would be $370 million today. this estimate is based on financial statements issued by the postal service which value release the holdings at $27 billion, but as the inspector general reported recently this valuation represents historical cost of the properties. not their fair market value which is how property taxes are applied, using the fair market value, those properties were worth in $201,285,000,000,000, not 27 if we use average property tax rate which economists do 1.8%, that exemption provides the city of
$1.5 billion. in 2012 of little better today, a different way of approaching the problem of the value at best. of course this is only one of a number of exemptions the postal service enjoys from state and local requirements including vehicle registration, state sales taxes, parking tickets. imagine no parking tickets. there are other subsidies from an economic point of view pertinent to this discussion. for example the postal service borrow as from the treasury through the federal financing bank up $2.15 billion if they hit that limit but it does so at very highly subsidized interest rates. currently has $15 billion in
debt, it pays on average a very below market interest rate of 1.2%. that cost $184 billion in interest last year. to borrow commercial rates the credit risk as its competitors and interest payments would have been $675 billion. that creates another subsidy from an economic point of view of 415 to $500 million. there's also the special arrangement for the federal income tax on the profits the postal service generates from selling competitive goods and services. in the competitive side you have to pay taxes on the profits it earns from delivering packages where it is competing with fedex
and ups. there's an interesting arrangement. i wish i could live off, the treasury compartment to the postal service, the postal service, a special revolving budget that the treasury which the postal service thrived on to cover any expense. the federal tax payment to the postal service. that is a subsidy worth a $50 billion. finally, this is where we get to the economics of it. the postal service, the monopoly over litter mail has predicted economists call major economies of scale and scope. protected from competition and its monopoly area that it maintains this huge network of post offices and those workers that reaches as congress requires and robert noted, six
days the week. they leverage economies of scale, costs and its competitive markets for package delivery and express mail. the most consequential example the postal service's core function of delivering a letter mailed to most homes and businesses on a daily basis means it can pick up and deliver packages for from any home or business at little additional cost. this produces what economists call a network advantage, private competitors's cost to pick up and deliver a package exceeds the postal service's income and the cost to pick up and deliver the same package and normal service. at the same time and the monopoly is the main reason with a postal service needs subsidies. think of it this way. in the absence of any legal
monopoly the postal service would face full competition from private company and be forced to undertake the strategy and investment necessary to match the productivity of the private sector of this area. it happens we can quantify it at. because the bureau of labor statistics found from 1987 to 2012 the postal service productivity, labor productivity grew at an average annual rate of $0.07 to 1% 3 year. private companies in the business of shipping, warehousing storage and delivery, basic functions of the post office recorded average annual productivity at 2.5% per year over the police came years. if the postal service had not enjoyed its monopoly position over this 25 year period it would have been as productive as
private sector counterparts. in 2012 higher productivity would have reduced its 2012 costs by $20 billion. that is a lot of money. even greater than the value of all the subsidies if you approach as an economist would. it is greater than the deficits the post office in doers. this is technically not a subsidy but represents an economic burden on everyone who uses the taxpayers and arises directly from the monopoly position in edition to the addition of subsidies, effective economic subsidies associated in that position which reinforced the need to not compete. the higher salaries and benefits postal employees enjoy and larger number of employees relative to some but of all private deliveries account for
less than half of those additional costs. the other half reflects the competitive pressures on the postal service to become more efficient and innovative which ultimately leads to less effective management practices, investment and operating procedures. this is not a criticism of the postal service. this is the way any subsidized monopoly response. it is inherent in a position, the problem is the position. those costs are grounds for a serious discussion about performing the arrangements of the postal service. >> postal service is the largest lincoln worldwide communications and logistics infrastructure value chain. like all infrastructures our role is to provide common solutions to problems that
cannot be reasonably salt individually. and complemented by adjacent infrastructure that are traditional and digital and suddenly faster and global environment. what are the new respective roles of the infrastructures? and should the infrastructure adapt to the speed of light each this year and what are the rules of the road for the road ahead? the first rule i would say is keep up no matter who you are, if you are a key player it is critical that you turn at the speed of blurb and when key players can't keep up it creates distortions in the landscape. magnifying glasses for the rest of us. when one of us can't keep up, to keep up as well no matter how young you are in this room your world is disappearing, passing
around the river of time. this is true whether you are a mailer or great customer postal service at its union customs that constantly in a way of these days. congress purposely slow and deliberate give to avoid ruling the country by the of war of the mob and the universal postal unit. and developing nations, a developing nation. clumsily picking winners and losers when you are in action. velocity doesn't really matter. wed everybody region their pockets and pull on the $1:and holds it up.
and cheaply produced. and the silver dollar. the road ahead is not about encouraging consumption of e efficiently manages unwanted manufacturing but it is about customer value creation. the new systems of the world enabled their value to the users. we should not define the postal service has literally envelopes and postal and traditional post offices. we need to define the postal service conceptually as and enable our of conversation at logistics' in that age of great upheaval in the events that left us with amazing gifts but unanticipated restraints. the last great destructive wave for the postal service was near simultaneous development of
railroads and the telegraph. the postal service at that moment didn't continue plodding along the coastal road that they built because that is who they were literally five seconds ago. was the first one to the railroads and the first one for the air carriers greatly helping most of those fragile income industries and as the value of mail increased it was also the first for the new highway system in america. history shows the postal service rapidly adapt this as it identifies better ways to serve american so how should adapt now to serve the emerge and cumin and commercial needs of this new century? act as an intermediary enabling seamless navigation between people's digital and physical lives in an essential american neighborhood role in providing input in megacities of the future. we should equip our trucks and
carriers and coastal services to be, mobile sensor nast collecting and uploading data to customers and the smart city infrastructures, testing wi-fi and cable streams in the neighborhood, air quality, and conduct meter readings, we should become neighborhood cohort centers for electricity reserves for the power grid, did you ever think of that? micro warehousing for small businesses. and commerce during the coming supply chain. as the world as more digital and the supply chain being disrupted from design and manufacture all the way to the delivery of the product. supply links are going digital.
leaving behind digital services that cannot become digital and trying not to finance the middle men any longer. 3d printing and customers assembly lines. this point of view manufacturing. the entire supply chain to take straight off of the assembly line to the residence and nothing in between. a 1-stop shop the entire supply chain. pure commerce, and the supply chain. and increasingly global marketplace not unable to buy u.s. goods without u.s. delivery
address. the banking industry blocking transactions for citizens and that friction to commerce. mobile banking with the branch in everybody's palm. even before this began, one out of 12 americans did not have a a bank account. bank branches may shrink from where they are today, 10,000 bank branches remaining. high-cost payday loans stepped into that vacuum that is rapidly thrown. many americans can't engage in ecommerce. us at the time brick and mortar commerce is disappearing. the postal service could provide financial services platform, where there are no banks. today's 59% of post office, 17,000 locations on located in zip codes where there are no
banks or single bank. post offices can provide financial instrument exchange when instruments are proliferating and cash checks and another platform. network matter extreme. a peculiar world war that went on for ten years. kids in the future are going to be laughing at what we are doing today. and pretend motor office. it is an end instead of the means but we have been insisting digital communications are passing in some instances including the postal service but not now. they don't been themselves of of
the assembly line to your home. digital streams are finally a comically correct. operating as a network matter stream. how to optimally match citizens with the data stream with the internets of things and network matter stream this. the postal service, and streams for commerce. and government and sunni learning. a huge burden of the service obligation you heard about today. it would be great if we could turn that liability into a wonderful asset for americans. we need to understand the impact of digital communications on the u.s. 0 but we should be feeling them as competitors the digital communications lightning the
load with universal service. we provide seamless visibility, and items traveling through the fulfillment chain from smart postage, packaging to intelligent mailboxes and we need to them too rarely now. it not become distracted by the litter of artifacts of yesterday. this evolution will also add to our viability and be profitable may be very profitable but before updating of the role of vital infrastructure being fuelled by this we can't forget we have an additional responsibility, one additional to its obligation. we must take fraction of commerce and minimize transaction cuts and finance the infrastructure without taxpayer dollars. largest of the world's postal
networks, 40%, we are the engine of this global network affect. postal service doesn't perform this mission because it chooses to or because it is the business. is our duty to you. a system that incentivize this innovation, meritocracy, conflict free in keeping the playing field level. >> thank you. >> i have been in this industry 31 years and once again at the brookings institution going about probing the nation's postal soul. rather than sit up here trying to act as social will engineer, i would rather sit around and talk to you from my view of things from a very specific prizm and that is with perspective on the people that i represent whose businesses are tied in one way or another to
the use of mail as a vehicle for the transaction of business communications and commerce. we are in the process of talking about postal reform. you heard us talk about service obligations and so on. might crystallize for you, what mailer is genuinely believe should be part of the postal and foreign package and part of their aspect of the definition of universal service. i am not talking universal service from the perspective of the individual customer out there but specifically in terms of the way business will do it. i don't choose to talk about the world the way i would like it to be or the way i would believe it to be. i have to talk about the world the way that it is. when you look at the mail today and you look at business to business communication business to consumer communication,
business communication, tallying it all up you come to the reality that 95% of all mail carried by the postal service today is business transaction really. only 5% of the male the postal service carries is what you would characterize as personal communications. for the past several years, we should quickly have realized that facebook has all but some planted mail as the vehicle by which grandma and grand kids get together, talk to each other exchanged birthday greetings and share pictures with one another. from business perspective consider the 95% of all mail is business transaction related i find it compelling to conclude that when you look at mail you have got to say it is an important part of the nation's economic infrastructure. when we talk about
infrastructure, it is all too easy to laps the social engineer's perspective talking about whether it is good or bad or fair or unfair. none of which matters. when we talk about infrastructure the only thing that matters is does it work, talk about it -- electrical infrastructure i don't care how you get the electricity year, they will hit the light switch and the lights will come on. then the water will come out. saving is true in the mail and when i put mail in the track i expect mail to be delivered in a specific way. the way we judge the quality of the infrastructure, but does it not facilitate the transaction of congress? before using it for solution purposes, it set itself up in a way that it facilitates using
it. if you have to look at the postal system and say how you are going to note how is doing that? there are two gee criteria as far as business is concerned. when i am in the business of using the communication vehicle it has to be reliable consistent, and predictable. i am building other elements of my business around the belief that certain things are happening at a certain time. how will i be able to prove that? clearly in order to be able to do that i must have had it provided through a system that is transparent and accountable, i should be able to be confronted with data that clearly says when you see these figures, these facts you clearly make the determinations that mail is being consistent and
reliable and predictable. i must be assured that the costs on which all mail services are based are accurate complete and transparent. when i say the cost of all mail services i am not just talking about market dominance services. i'm talking about competitive services as well. we recast it in two parts, market dominance and competitive and subjected the market dominance with specific regulatory regime for a reason and that is because you could not have competition within the market's dominant area, you must take steps to be absolutely sure that there was not going to be this illegal subsidy going to competitive services for market dominance. the only way you can do that is to be assured that the costs upon which the postal service
bases its prices and activities are accurate, complete and transparent. whole day of being able to go to the post of regulatory commission, when you ask for the costs of competitive services you find everything redacted should be long gone. i as a user of market dominance services have an absolute right to be assured if the one i have a price for that particular service that price is covering the cost of my service, not the cost of somebody else's. we're looking for a way in which we can actually say we got an ability to measure the cost in a way so the we are sure it is accurate, complete and transparent. the postal service to its own benefit is beginning to move very quickly for the implementation of its intelligent mail system which gives a speech holes that are necessary to make those kinds of measurements and make some apparent but i should not have
to be able to go to the regulatory commission when i look at the data, i am required to burrow down to 15 different spreadsheets to hopefully find a way on it. it should be there, transparent, it should be discernible so that everybody who's using the system paying the cost associated with the system knows exactly what is being done. let me make this really will be clear. from the mailer's perspective. we don't care how the postal service does about structuring its work rules. we don't care how it goes about compensating its workers. we don't care how it deals with employee relations and we couldn't care less whether congress likes it or not. all of these matters are of no concern to mail users. the only thing that matters is does the postal system satisfied the mission that was given as part of the nation's infrastructural system? if it does and if we get from
it reliable services based on costs that are accurate and transparent, we get everything we need to get from the postal system today and we can leave it to those who choose to worry about other aspects to handle those aspects itself. here are the realities people need to keep in mind. the entire cost of operating the nation's postal system is paid for by the people who have used the mail who send the mail. 95% business transaction related, it is necessary to make this thing go. we talked about the division between market dominance and competitive. it is subjected to a regulatory regime. it is subjected to regulatory regime because it has not won monopoly but two monopolies that
control what happens within the mail. not only under the carriage of mail but deposited mail in mail receptacles. i haven't said anything about prices. the only thing i will say about prices is before the postal accountability at the postal service was proud of itself saying we have always been able to operate by keeping postal prices within the range of inflation. the accountability act was passed and we end ed up going through a deep recession that had structural impacts of every business there was in america, but what is the problem? when you see that the cost of operating the system are exceeding their revenues you are able to gain because of a transformation that has occurred in terms of the way we communicate through business. it is not because you are being overly regulated.
it is because your costs have not been reduced the level of the changes that have been going on within your own business. we believe generally that mail services tool should be offered in the context of inflationary limits. do we mean to say that they have to be as they are defined today limited by cpi constraints at the class level? maybe that is not necessarily solid. that is what the regulatory commission may take a look at as it goes forward but we also need to be mindful that may be what is wrong, taking a look at that kind of restraint is not whether it is tied to inflation but the manner in which it is defined. we continue to define mail services today as we did even before postal reorganization. we talk about first class mail,
periodicals, advertising. talk about packages. they are not at the heart of what drives the postal services business. what the postal service does and drive its business are determined by the shape of the male. perhaps if we read the fine classes in accordance with the way the postal service actually practices mail within the system we might find instead of having at heterogeneous grouping of costs and packages we may not be able to define more heterogeneous or homogeneous so that we can appropriately apply whenever they have to be. >> thank you very much. this is a widely discussion. i want to take questions from the audience and start off by talking about four things that
occurred here. you, lower downie vision of all sorts of things the post office could be doing in the future. many of those are very intriguing. the post office is already doing a lot of experimentation getting into the business of grocery delivery, parter dirksen senate office building amazon for sunday delivery. a lot of entrepreneurship going on. my first question is does the postal service as currently organized have the capacity, the managerial capacity to actually develop competitive products? second related to this and related to rob's discussion, it is the post office getting into these, how do we deal with subsidies the post office enjoys from the federal government? because as the post office moves into new territory is obviously
going to compete with existing businesses and entity so how shall we think about that? what should congress think about that? third, maybe for you, maybe the whole group, there is this weird can million dollar limit. the market test products which seems kind of ridiculous given that every other number we are talking about is billions and the entrepreneurial side of this is limited to millions and should that be changed? finally how should we think about the monopoly post office which robb described and the competitive post office which i think you describe. should they be separate entities? how should we -- what do we do with those two pieces of the business? for those are couple things i was thinking about.
i made four questions into one. let's open it up. >> thanks. as we look at those questions, it would be helpful to give all little context to where we are today. until 1970 the post office department was a cabinet level agency, the postmaster general usually had been the campaign manager for the president and was appointed postmaster general given of the patronage at the time. and the postmaster general said in the president's cabinet. 1970 came along because of all the financial challenges with the postal service and managerial and created this business like entity which we have today. it removed the political involvement and the key part of that was the postal service no longer had its rates set by congress that this agency called the postal rate commission which was created to separate so from 2006 that was a law we operated
under a generally speaking whenever the postal service felt the need to change rates and needed more money it would come to the commission and the commission would be wrapped and over a year long process would dump the raids and assets. the postal service had revenue requirements generally speaking so if it needed $5 billion it would generally get $5 billion. the issue is what first-class pay more than second class or third class? jump ahead to 2006 after 12 years of effort the postal laws were changed, postal accountability and enhancement. one of the key areas that was focused on was trying to modernize the rate so instead of a yearlong process before the post office could change the idea was give the postal service more modern flexibility to change its prices but as we talked about because of customers in the market, the postal rate commission was
turned into postal regulatory commission or power and authority to get the data, ensure that it was out there and postal service was violating an inflation rate but there was also recognition in the debate that resulted in the law of 2006 but there's a competitive category. release speaking in the revenue market on that side and ensuring the market dominance side. it was set up to say on the competitive side, cost subsidies are occurring. every single product covers its costs. and kicked into the overhead at a percentage that the commissions desk.
and issuing the compliance, service standards and report on that and order the postal service to take corrective action. as part of the separation on these competitive products, they're operating in the commercial marketplace and the commission needs to provide protection for information. the commission gets it, set of rules like a federal court, the commission said those rules up in 2008. the commission operating under that can it be improved? sure thing and the commission has able to deal with a lot of issues with the cost can be improved, 45 years from the 1970 law. the postal service put a lot of it. at any time the party can come
to the commission and start a rulemaking to improve this process. the good news is on this war we don't necessarily need to to have an act of congress. we have a vibrant regulatory system set up, 2006, that can handle it. last point to go to your latest was areas of new product. the loss of the commission to cause the ball to strike, can the postal service get the new products the law made the decision in 2006 for better or for worse that the postal service can only offer postal products. non postal products were barred by law from the postal service, that would take an act of congress to change but within that framework of what disposal is a lot of flexibility and the postal service as they have come to the commission and continue to do so. i would add if the laws change we have what we didn't have in 2006, a regulator that has been
in place looking at these things so if congress were to say let's broaden the aperture of what they can get into you could now put that into a process where a regulator could look at whatever criteria the law would look at, fair competition in issues things of that nature. i would argue that gets us off from what we should look at, what is it we need from this institution to provide a government agency and that should inform all the other things that should be done to do that. >> anybody else? >> i have to operate under the laws of economics. not the loss of progress. from an economic point of view a single organization providing monopoly public service and private good is always problematic. >> you can see the rest of this
discussion on the future of the post office on a website c-span.org. we are going to leave this now for a discussion on the u.s. voting system. the white house counsel joins members of the presidential commission on election administration talking about various aspects of the voting process in federal election. speaking of election news this morning, the minority leader harry reid will not be running for reelection will retire at the end of his term at the end of 2016, that news from nevada this morning. now live on c-span2. >> coming from the business world, n.y. public library tammy patrick, former election official from arizona, commissioner and mcgeeham from texas and chris thomas, the current state director of elections in michigan and in the middle, the research director of stanford law professor and research director of the
commission. i will turn to bob and ben for initial remarks in this opening session about the commission's one year anniversary. >> thank you very much for being here. delightful to be reunited with our commissioners and senior research director and as you know the goal of the commission from the very beginning was to gather views from across the country from administrators from voters voting rights community across the board. and anna will be bipartisan basis to determine what could be done to make the voting process more functional for voters. ..
with the democrats, republicans and independents participating in a conversation about the importance of showing of the voting rights in the united states with particular attention to election administration as a sector of public administration. as a means of making elections work and steering clear of other controversies we will always have around the process and zeroing in on the question of how to improve the very basic experience that eligible voters have in registering, going to the polls, voting in a significant confidence that their votes will be successfully, accurately
counted. so we were very grateful for that experience and very grateful that the outcome was as well received as it was. now we're into an implementation phase and i want to thank john and the bipartisan policy center and the organizations that have supported this obligation effort. the bipartisan policy center made an excellent decision in bringing on board choose to the implantation effort one of our former commissioners tammy patrick who is here. and don palmer, former secretary of state, state of virginia, an expert in the electoral process. and want to also recognize the ongoing contributions that are senior research director nate persily has made. our view is that there is a conversation now taking place that we're able to get into and working on reports that we been able to get them jump in writing the report and that we are in
this implementation phase continuing to develop that will really produce meaningful results for voters across the country. and so i'm very delighted to be a and delighted we have this opportunity and i will now turn it over to my good friend and co-chair ben ginsberg. >> thank you. this past year, you have actually been and honor, privilege and pleasure to work with bob and nate and all the pleasure to come up with our series of recommendations and best practices. the truth of course is that bob and i have battled over many very partisan battles over more years than bob cares to admit. and it really was a tremendous opportunity for us to be able to come together over these issues. because republicans and democrats agree that the building of all qualified voters to cast their votes fairly and without barriers is a fundamental part of our system
and needs to be encouraged everywhere. one of the things that all of you taught us is that we have a very interesting system with 8000 jurisdictions that have some responsibility for putting on elections. so that uniformity is extremely challenging, one of the things the commission saw. but for the few number of jurisdictions where there are problems, there are many more jurisdictions who do the individual parts of voting, whether it's lines for registration or proper polling places very very well. so the great opportunity that we had and the great educational experience that i think bob and i were able to share was to talk to so many election officials around the country, see the great skills and dedication that they have to the problem. so i hope our report is a
testament to being able to find solutions to problems and then having them implemented in those jurisdictions among the 8000 that do have problems in one of these areas. it is certain worth noting what a great process it was to work with my fellow commissioners and with nate commend all the folks who came and talked to us at the hearings we had around the country. so i hope this report is the start of something that will now be implemented thanks to john fortier and the bipartisan policy center and tammy and don palmer, as we go forward. it is certainly true that it is a difficult process to get all the elements of this report implement it. that really is a state i stayed
operation, and that's both with the successes and the challenges that the bpc project will lie your so with that let me again thank john for what's going on, and bob for this terrific year, and nate for making us all smart. and all the commissioners for your wisdom and insights on how to solve these problems. >> during the day we are going to delve more deeply into for issues which the commission made major recommendations. i haven't counted how many literal recommendations they are specially because there are definitely very specific recommendations but the four areas we're going to talk about today are improving the polling place experience of reducing polling place lines. second, the voting technology issues associated with the new generation of voting machines and that we certify and test
them. the possibility of early voting and how states are moving to that and might move to that more effectively. and a number of issues related to voter registration including online registration and data sharing across states and working with their dmv. we have a little time in this initial panel which touches things off to say something about those issues and maybe i can ask some of the commissioners to pick one of those and say a little something about that. i know maybe the voting technology issue i think is one that i know our esteemed co-chairs probably didn't think they're going to come into this commission and say, this is the thing we are going to mix a major recommendations about, but you want is a little bit about that issue or a couple of others of you may be jump in say brought things about the others? >> john is right in this technology and problems with our existing machines, was not something that we anticipated
talking about at the beginning of the process. but in our various meetings and hearings around the country it was clear that every election official faces the problem of machines bought in the early 2000s now kind of running out of juice. there was additional problem and that the technological standards that had to be passed bring new equipment to market have not been updated since 2007, which is before the ipad was invented. and by the way, you want to be able to cast a ballot on an ipad these days. that's a fundamental problem that we saw that we got a tremendous amount of help to come up with some recommendations. matt anderson and christy campbell and the folks at, and tom hicks have got a lot of the
lion's share of getting all this put into place so that it can there can actually be a solution to it. but i think it is one of the things that came out of the commission was hopefully being able to put some focus on it. certainly chris thomas who is one of our commissioners has been a tremendous amount of time in his role in michigan in dealing with the issue. >> maybe i can turn to chris. i was going to ask you with saying something a registration. i know you care deeply about many aspects of registration but in particular the department of motor vehicles in michigan is really a model for working with the election office and sharing lists. do you want to say a little bit about that as a key recommendation? >> it is a key, as my co-chair indicated, there's a lot of things on the table. voting systems are short and one of them that we all see approaching.
but an ongoing one has been the foldable the addition of the national voter registration act which really has not yet occurred. this report helped highlight that. every person who's eligible ought to be a registered voter and have that opportunity offered when they're doing business with department of motor vehicles. what the data shows is that that's just not the case. so we have highlighted that as a way of really across the board to get a high registration rate to make it more convenient for voters. what this report is all about is the voter. it's not about political parties. it's not about election official. it's about the voters making this experience a better experience on election day. the worst thing is you show up on election day and your name is not in the books. after driver's license will have your proper address on it. when the dmv's step up and fully implement we'll get rid of lion's share of the provisional ballots which also cause lines
on election day. >> would one of the commissioners like to say a little bit more about the recommendation regarding polling place lines? that was the initial comments from the president that spurred the creation of this commission. one of the areas. and we'll have a panel led by one of the areas we're trying to work ask the commission with specific counties on these issues. you would say something about your findings online? >> sure. i will. good morning, everyone. and discreet see a buddy again and to get the band back together here at the table. that's correct that the lines really spurred the commissions genesis, but what was on executive order was that it laid out 10 very discrete areas to look at, and one of those die
directly into resource allocation and what causes lines, whether it's the inaccuracy of our voter rolls or its malfunction of voting equipment. and what we found as we went around the country was that lines occur for very sweet since address points in time during election day, sometimes in the same polling place. so it's a very tough nut to crack and decide exactly what are causing the lines but what we're finding and will result in our hearings in some of those local election investors are here today is that election officials are looking for david to try and discern why these lines are occurring and looking to the facts on how they can mitigate that from occurring in the future. so which one thing to kind of cut through there are problems with a line at a particular polling place because machines have broken down but then you find out had nothing to do with machines breaking down but it was, in fact a problem with
poll workers workers liking and been kind to each other and listening to what they're supposed to do. so there's a wide reason that lines occur. so what we have to do it was quite the test is to dana say okay, how can we provide tools to local officials to figure out why they're getting lines and how to address them when they occur. and we did make the recommendation in the report that voters should not have to wait longer than 30 minutes in order to get to a point where talking to an election official to get their ballot, that sort of thing. that was really are the means and when you're doing a resource allocation, and poll workers to our, how me pieces of equipment, how many ballots should you order, to try and think about it in terms of want to process these people than 30 minutes. we provided some tools. there out on support the voter.com is the website so it is www.support the voter.gov and the tools there that allow election officials to go when or in what really, public
available, putting the expected turnout or the registered voters, however you want to cut that out and anything joe going to be allocating. what we come from election officials is that the challenges of resources. and some resources into lack of resources. some cases it's the quality of the resources that they have. in other cases it is the point of allocation of the resources. so putting what you have in the right place is the best surrogate public and were hopeful these tools that we provided will help the local administrator in doing that. and i think that's part, for me the commission in this report we really thought of having three separate audiences. there's an audience that would require state legislation to enact, like online voter registration. but then there's also things that state election administrators can do the rules and things that local administrators can do just by made in adjusting some other
processes. that's what we really want to make sure the tools being provided to everyone engaged to make sure the voters are well served. >> let me quickly turn to the research director because tammy mentioned dave and i think this commission was data-driven and one person made that call more than anybody else. it was nate persily calling for more metadata and really getting out into the field and engaging political scientists and other scholars and other sources of data. can you say a little bit about your efforts to remake this commission data-driven? >> well, thank you again for having me here, and i'll talk a bit about that. i am both horse and wistful. [laughter] bring as tammy said that and back together but does overcome me. and i will say the research efforts of the commission while
i was up on the research director, was a product of the work of somebody political scientist, charles stewart being among them as i've said on other occasions. there are few people in academia generally who are so invaluable to a profession as charles stewart is to the field of election administration that we don't know what we would do without them. he and others led a team of researchers whose research actually stated this month and election law journal. go to your local newsstand and get that. [laughter] and the effort included a survey, national survey of election officials. it also included a series of research papers on all of the topics in the executive order. and we had about a dozen between one and two dozen political scientists and other working with the commission to provide them the best data.
notably in the report toward the end there was a plea for more and better data from jurisdictions, and to try to sort of replicate what we were doing in the commission to bring information to make it a more professional data-driven exercise. there is as charles stewart is fond of saying of this is not intended would don't have all that much data. there is a lot out there it's just that easily accessible to allow the professionals who would like to use it to improve elections. let me just say one final thing pick up on what bob bobbin tranten said about the success of the commission. there's a sense in which at the end of this process it seemed like it might be inevitable that we would all the commission would all come together unanimously in recommendations. but it really is a testament to the efforts into the design of the commission that the commission was able to do what it did.
and it is sorted unique i think in this era of polarization to have to the people like bob and ben are trusted by the parties and who can lead an effort like this with professionals who are on the commission to come together really to sort of deal with the problems that are widely known in election administration and to deal with in any nonpartisan professional way. and that spirit that you see in the report is one that we recommend and hope continues after the report is released you're one of the main recommendations as bob said was to begin to think of election administration as a profession a problem-solving profession that is data-driven, along those lines and sorts of things. >> i think we have a little more time, if we could take one obvious point is the commission itself had some boundaries and limitations but it didn't take on every issue.
the parties have strong disagreed about some but there was a lot that the parties could find common ground on. and primarily the report really looks to state and local changes in law, rules, activities and that really so much looking at the federal role. but the couple other areas may be weaker briefly touch on, touch on later in the day. that is early voting and is one of aspect of voter registration chris talked about the d&d aspect of the commission recommended online voter registration as well as a number of ways in which states could share data across states to improve accuracy of lists. bob, would you like to say something about one of those areas speaker certainly. one in particular i think is worth mentioning is the role of voter choice and of voter preference. one of the clear-cut signals
that we got from election administrators, and we certainly picked it up during the hearings, is the voters have a certain set of expectations about how they will be treated during the voting process. they would like the voting process to operate the way other spheres of their lives do. they have sort of a desire in their lives for a certain degree of sort of flexibility. they certainly would like to be treated by the electoral process as, if you will customers can same sort of consideration that are pashtun businesses give to their customers. so to a significant amount to a significant degree in the course of our conversation it was very clear that the voiceovers for the last in was the voice of the voters. this goes to the question of multiple opportunities to vote which one of our recommendations. early voting if you will is one way to describe it but there's a whole host of other ways that voters who have an opportunity to cast their ballots in advance of election and there's an alternative to trying to
schedule the voting moment during that one tuesday when someone to people, particularly for example, a federal presidential election, maybe voting at the same time. we just found that time and again the question we are confronted with was what are we doing to improve the voting experience? i were listening to what voters are telling us? we found election administrators sensitive on a bipartisan basis to voters in lieu as well as red states or in between and what they were saying about what they needed. the multiple opportunities to vote is a good example of that. however, it is structured, those are choices that voters are asking for. that along with making sure that our decisions were data-driven we didn't worry about that because we are driven by nate to make the data-driven, and by charles. we were listening to the voter. >> ann or ben you want to jump in on one of those topics?
>> sure. i'll jump in just as a few comments about early voting. which bob kerrey articulately explained that was interesting was that no matter where we went, we got uniform consensus that it would be good to alleviate the congestion on election day. if you have to force all voters to vote within a 12 hour period on a single day that's an invitation for problems and can contribute to bloglines. what we saw was not one size fits all. some states have expanded and created early voting in person, which gives voters multiple opportunities chances, not multiple times to vote but have multiple opportunities to take vantage of early voting when it's convenient for their schedule. we also heard from northwestern states colorado that it had huge success with voting by bill. for the recommendation from the commission was not just saying it has been early voting by personal appearance but what works for your jurisdiction with
limitations within your jurisdiction. and what we also heard was that in addition to alleviating the pressure points on election day voters really love the opportunity as bob wilson. voters appreciate that choice. at in texas we've been doing early voting since 1987 and we could never do away with it because the voters would demand. we will be talking more about early voting today but that was a highlight. >> just to emphasize one thing. multiple opportunities to vote means getting to vote once and having lots of different ways to do it. [laughter] sometimes gets confusing. and we did find very interestingly that different locations in different jurisdictions have different preferences about precisely what that means. so that what one jurisdiction means by multiple opportunities to cast your one ballot in one
part of the country is quite different in another. and that just emphasizes the local nature that we have of elections generally, and that solutions or fixes to the problems we articulate to have become state-by-state and jurisdiction by jurisdiction, that make this an ongoing challenge for election officials and people who care about the issue. the other issue i might note john, where we found a large degree of agreement really complete agreement across the political spectrum was the need for clean voter rolls. that, in fact, republicans and democrats agree that the election process works better, there are fewer long lines there are fewer confusions over who should be able to vote and not vote.
if the roles our clinics were things we did agree on in the report is that there are two programs out there that help states clean up their roles so that when voters go into the ballot box to cast their votes that there are not confusions over whether they should be there or not. and i think those are important bipartisan improvements that can be made. >> great. well, we are going to shift to a second part. we will not have a break but will shift to a second part of the session. we have a visiting speaker, neil eggleston was the white house counsel who will be with us. i'm going to do a very brief introduction. we're not going to break for just a quick shift of seats were neil will come and join us and talk to us forgive us. will have a few questions and wrapup of the session. as an agent neil is the white house counsel, previously served as associate counsel in the clinton administration.
also is assistant attorney in the southern district on your end formally a law partner. so we are very pleased to have a neil eggleston with us. again, this was the president's commission on election. the president came up and appointed his commission and happy to have your in love to hear from you. >> so thank you very much and thanks to bob and ben as well into the bipartisan policy center for this. i always whenever i see bob i think to myself that it's clear that i wouldn't be white house counsel without bob's support. and there are many days i thank them for that and many days i curse him for that. [laughter] so it's great to be here and next to bob. so thank you very much for that kind introduction. it's a great pleasure obviously for me to be here today. this is a matter, issue of imports to me and it's a matter of significant importance to the president. and i know it's important to
everyone in this room. first i want to take a moment to thank the bipartisan policy center, both for hosting this retrospective and for taking initiative to assist the presidential commission on election administration in working with states into stations across the country to advance the commissions important recommendations. let me go off on a riff and i will come back to make it clear while i'm doing this in the second, but i read this report what first came out and i read it again in connection with today's event. i was heavily involved in selecting the people to be on the president's policing task force, policing in the 21st century as i was asking those people deserve i said two things to them, which is we want this done quickly. this is a matter of enormous importance. and the second thing we said was that we want this to be practical recommendations that can be implemented. and as i was reading your report again in preparation for today i was struck how much of this report actually accomplishes
those same two goals. it was done quickly with a lot of input but in addition the recommendation she came up with are the kinds of recommendations that can be emblematic that are important and the kinds of nuts and bolts running of the voter system that are so important and very thankful for your work on that. in america as we've talked about there are more opportunities to vote than in any other country in the world but more and more as this group is all too aware americans are making the decision not to show up at the polls, particularly a non-presidential election years. as you know in the 2014 midterm elections, voter turnout reached its lowest point since world war ii. i find that astonishing and it's something we simply cannot tolerate. but maybe it is not so surprising in some ways because of the kind of work you have been looking into, that ended 2012 presidential election, over 5 million voters wait in line are more than an hour come in
many waited in line for six hours to cast a ballot. some studies have said that 750,000 people did not vote because the line was too long and it was simply going to take too long. as americans we should set the gold standard for election administration and the successes to show that we are not there yet. and hopefully with the work of this commission and the kind of recommendations that you've made we can get much closer to the gold standard. in the 2013 state of being address subsequent executive order the president established the commission on election administration and cast it with identifying nonpartisan ways to improve american election administration. to shorten lines at polling places promote the efficient conduct of elections, and provide better access to the polls for all voters. i was struck again as i recently read the report, the accent on the necessity to have poor access for americans with
disabilities who obvious we need as much accommodation as anyone else to be able to vote. today i would like to thank and congratulate the commissioners enemy continued to your report and to celebrate what you've already accomplished, taken with the help of our host the bipartisan policy center. after six-month the public is everything from election officials academic experts and representatives of various organizations and associations, many of them thankfully are in the room here today the commission develop a set of practical achievable recommendations to improve the developer experience at the polling place. he recognize and promote a view which i share that the administration of elections must be viewed not as a partisan exercise but as a subject of good public administration. in doing so you focus on various aspects of voting, from registration to ballot design to polling place management, and many others, that work individually and collectively to
create each voter's experience. and that seemed to me which focused on what is the experience of the voter, and that's really the focus of your report. recognizing the similarly and goals you approached your view of the voting experience in same way that private companies evaluate their customers experience. i heard you went to disney world. i don't know if it's true to look at their famous line management system. they are always done to improve and. i don't go as much as my kids grew up to a member years ago the system was great and a lot to learn from private industry which focuses on which on its consumers. recognizing the importance of this work and your ability to effect real change, the commission did not stop at just providing recommendations. you went a step further by providing state and localities within dashed up with an election to get containing real workable data-driven tools. with your help with help from rock the vote you provide open-source voter registration software that states can use to
create their own online registration systems. you provided election administrators with tools to check the late the number of polling places and staff they wanted to achieve targeted way times as well as the affect that adding or subtracting staff will have on those times and ultimately on the voters extremes. these tools are specific and would make a difference in the localities ability to tailor its voting practices to the specific needs of each community. you showed that could election administration is good government. and you and the bipartisan policy center are now helping to bring these advances to fruition all across the country working hand-in-hand with folks on the ground who have been doing this hard work year in and year out. i can't help but be impressed by all that is being done to use technology to improve public administration. it's worth highlighting in
particular the great work that is already underway in response to one of the commission's chief recommendations, adoption of online voter registration that ben mentioned a few minutes ago. the commission's report called for an expansion of online voter registration as a method of reducing air saving money can reducing delays at the polling place and providing the voter with immediate feedback on registration status. since the report was published, five states have passed legislation to create online voter registration, and additional states are likely to adopt this reform in the coming year. of course are still a lot of work to be done. in the years since her release and report the commission that studied the administration of elections around the country to understand the local administration officials can better serve the needs of their communities. during the 2014 general election the commission teamed with the bipartisan policy center to study line ways to streamline the process and you digester resource allocation tools in
counties in florida, south carolina and in virginia. while state and local officials must continue to confront the issues raised in the commission's report and evaluate their own needs, the federal government must do its part to ensure the election administrators are given the tools that they need to run smooth, efficient elections. last year the president nominated and congress unanimous consent three new commissioners to the election assistance corporation. cristy mccormick, tom hicks and matthew masterson who may or may not be here today. i'm not sure. i heard you were all here today, should have googled what you look like. [laughter] so i could've probably pointed at you. apologies for not doing that. last month, we were able to meet with the commission's for the first time in four years.
immediately took action to address some of the recommendation raising the commission's report. including accrediting a voting system test laboratory considering important updates to the standards for testing voting systems and usage of the country. and we thank you for your immediate action so quickly after being confirmed. earlier this month the president joined thousands of americans in selma to mark the anniversary of the march from selma to although the lead to the voter rights act of 1965. 50 years later the members of this commission and the work you do to serve as prime examples of how we can come together from across the country and from different parties and different political persuasions to make voting easier for every american, recognizing citizen participation is the core of our democracy. i am honored to be with the members of the commission and particularly ssa its co-chairs bob and ben come and take it off is very important conversation. i very much thank you for your attention and for inviting me to
speak here today. [applause] >> thank you. i know you will have some time for a few questions and i guess i would start with some of the commissioners, if the commissioners would like to ask a question of neil while we have him here. bob, you used to sit in the same chair, not that share but speed i was pausing, thinking, what question. [inaudible] i do think that i appreciate your putting the stress on the question on the effort on the commission's part to make practical recommendations. and i think the commission would hope also that we are going to have come and expect, that we would have the continued support of the administration is's doing this bipartisan path towards
election. this administration. how do you see the various ways that this administration, subsequent administrations can tie into the effort as it continues to bring home the point that maybe other issues, other controversies but that is a public admission about the can be develop on a bipartisan basis? >> in some sense this commission started through an executive order by the president, and i should just say and bob knows this is will i do that he is quite committed to this. at selma and since so many is talked about issues with regard to american vote americans voting. he cares a lot about the issue and i think you will hear him continue to speak about it in a nonpartisan sense, the kinds of things this commission is doing and the real need to, as i said to make the voter experience voters go to the poker we can't reward them for going to the poll but we can make an also hard for them to go to the
polls. so i think you will continue to speak out about that and be a pretty big megaphone on those issues. and he is very appreciative of the work of this commission as i said i really meant it, as i reread your report again i was struck really that the kinds of recommendations you came up with, many of them are not terribly expensive, very pragmatic. the disability recommendations are ones that just have to be thought about and dealt with. and the use of technology and the like but these are the kinds of things that implementable and could have enormous impact on the voter experience. and witches, whether you're republicans and democrats, whatever your views, we really want our citizens to vote. and if they don't vote we will continue this sort of spirit of unhappiness in the electorate and we really need to make sure that they vote and they commit and they're part of the process but it will make our government better make our democracy better, and i think -- i thank all of you for your work to achieve that goal.
>> other questions from the commissioners? >> meal, thank you for joining us. one of the sleeper issues in the report in many ways is communities having adequate facilities in which to let their citizens vote. and as we look at this the best, solution and the most communities is really public schools. there are safety issues with that, of course, if you have lots of people from the outside coming in to schools when children are there. so the recommendation is that it be and in service day election day began in service day. it is of course locality i locality agreement that you need for that but i wonder if the president weighing in on schools as terrific polling places in each community would have a
qualitative effect on helping this good achieved. >> so sure. i mean i may be council but i don't speak for him so let me take that back. but i completely agree with your notion that we need places where people both feel safe and comfortable. and people are typically comfortable in our schools. many of you probably live in montgomery county. this last election i voted at a community center that was really quite close to my house and in early voting situation, but at the kind of situation where i was culpable. when i lived in new york in the '80s it seemed to me that i voted in the law of an apartment building nearby which surprised me that you could vote in sort of private location like that in new york, a lot of people voted that's what got done. i think that part of the voter experience is as you say ben
to have them into place they feel comfortable going to a lot of people have kids or have had kids and are familiar with the school situation. you are right of course that if you're going to do that it almost has to be a service that because you wouldn't want all sorts of people not affiliated with the school to be going in and out of location, at least in a way that wouldn't provide both the safety for the voters of both the safety of the kids. it could be quite disruptive. i think that's a very important idea. idea. >> are there other questions from this table? >> i have one which is, maybe it's a bit of a comet that you could respond to. i guess i take back on the commission was created and i know you're not in the white house at the time but first the president had the interest in lines but i think wisely broadened that interest. of course, that wasn't issued by the were many other issues which
were related to the voting process. laid that out in an executive order with clear instructions to the commission. number two, one of the reasons the commission succeed was because you have these two respective leaders in the party, bob bauer and ben ginsberg at the top co-chairing, and the administrator it was a combination of a lot of things that made it defined agenda both parties represented and the real experience of people there. so i guess i'm throwing a cup of joe way how it was designed but maybe if you had some thoughts on this. that was all intended on whether that's a good model for other efforts. >> my sense is it was an excellent model. what it seemed to me it attempted to do was to define, again i keep going back to this, and again partially because this policing task force, obviously
tonight a cooperative on this issue but they're not cooperative on a lot of other issues, right? so there's lots of -- [laughter] >> sitting between the two, i thought i would just go with not cooperative. [laughter] but i think sort of the success of this is because it defined it the issue to be solved as the practical issues of improving their voter experience. i mean, i visited the gotten into a lot of the other issues that divide the parties, nothing would've happened and it would've been an unsuccessful enterprise i suspect. but by ridley of the voter experience on which everyone agrees regardless of which party that that is something that needs be improved, then the problem was defined in a way that you could come up with real solutions. and then i think actually the decision to not, i guess am sure there are academics around the
table so this is isn't an academic but do not just have his academics but also people who are as you say voting administrators who are actually out there who's voting machine to break just as the bull is supposed to open and now what do i do. and poll worker who was supposed to show it doesn't show up to now i have a line. so to deal with those kinds of issues which you really couldn't do only what academics. answer by having a blend of people and you did a terrific job i think withholding six but whatever it was that hearings in order to even deeper and your knowledge about what happens out in the field i think really helped your ability to come up with these practical solutions. so i thought, i thought it defined a solvable, not a solvable problem but a problem to which real recommendations could be me. i think the commission gathered for the right tools and the right people to be able to address that problem. i think it is really a terrific
model. >> i was just chime in very quickly. i think that part of what was successful about the process in the report also was that we didn't get together and say if we were going to start from scratch what would we do. instead sharing for what it would be done in this country every single recommendation that are in most cases multiple jurisdictions who have implemented it implemented it well, are willing to share their store with the rest of the world and how they did it and the most cases almost everyone of our recommendations is a scalable. so in that case kind of one size does it all. it might be a very large muumuu unitas and shut the belt but it is the sort of thing that is scalable. so the largest jurisdictions, i know, what a visual, right? [laughter] of course i had to point directly at dean logan, largest
jurisdiction. your muumuu is kind of tight because you are the largest jurisdiction but small jurisdictions also appreciate having this nature of able to the. and even though we publish it send it out a year ago, every time we go out in public and meet with election administrators i talk to people who are hearing it, seeing it, feeling it excited about it for the very first time. because the truth is that we brought together the 18. we heard from either list of ministers. we have many of them here today. that there are many more who don't have the resources to go to national conferences, maybe don't even have the resources to go to the state conferences when they have that they're capable. so having this as a resource is very, very hopeful. that's why i think it's critical that we do have it reconstitute because that's another resource and we relied on in the report but we mentioned it numerous times about the election management guide and some other things. i think that's been really
gratifying to see that people are using this as a tool from montana to connecticut, they are using it to measure lines come up with a new processes to see if there are lines how they can address them when they do occur. it's very exciting. >> could i say one more thing? and i think i have to go. there's one other thing i wanted to say about this, which is that it's so driven that you are having this conference a year later because that proves the other advantage of what's happened is that you've come up up with, as i said, implementable recommendation. but you are not suffering from the problem of no follow-through, which can happen in connection with these kinds of reports. and so so you continue to work on implementation. you continued to study some of issues and then you are having a conference such as this to ensure that there's real follow-through and that there's been implementation. because, i mean as you all know
it's always great to have a report but for something like this you need administrators and actual locations to read it think about it and then have the resources in order to develop it. it's a terrific you're doing this kind of follow-through to make sure that these great ideas that you have are actually getting adopted around the country so i really can't let you and applaud you for doing that as well. so thank you all very much for inviting me. i am honored to have appeared here today, and look forward and i hope you have you keep having these because it's so important a topic that you've agreed to address here. so thank you all very much. really appreciate it. [applause] >> we are now going to shift when some people are going to shift places here. i know there's a plan for this where we're going to move another panel that will be talking about polling place lines. throughout the day will talk about for of our large issues, polling place lines voting
technology, early voting and other voting registration. we will assemble the panelists on the top year and move forward. let me while we are rolling here -- [inaudible] we are going to have we will hear from for people -- [inaudible] before we're going to hear from our kirk showalter who is from richmond, virginia, who is a general registrar. charles stewart who you heard mentioned before who is political science professor at mit. spent a lot of time --
[inaudible] cameron quinn who's the general registrar in fairfax county virginia. and cliff tatum was with the district of columbia board of elections executive director. [inaudible] >> we will leave the discussion from the bipartisan policy center at this point with some news about elections or one that won't happen for harry reid. a democratic leader this will announcing he will not seek reelection in 2014. he becomes the fourth senator so far in the 114th the third democrat, to say they will retire at the end of his term. the hill writes that the announcement begins the jockeying to succeed him as the senate's top democrat possible contender supposedly minority whip dick durbin, vice chair of the conference senator chuck schumer and senator patty murray who serves as the senate democratic conference second you. here's terry reed's statement from this morning.
>> these bruises i have on my face on my i are an inconvenience but trust me, they are nothing compared to some of the bruises i got when i was fighting in the ring. when i was a boy, i dreamed of being an athlete. i listened to those games on the radio, baseball games, and i envisioned me as a man out in centerfield in yankee stadium or fenway park in boston, but the joy i've gotten with the work that i've done to the people state that has been just as the filling as if i had played centerfield at yankee stadium. the job of minority leader, and the united states senate and is just a support as being majority leader. it gives you so much opportunity to good things for this country and that's what i am focused on. but this accident has cost us for the first time to have a little downtime. ipad time to ponder and to think. we've got to be more concerned
about the country the senate the state of nevada then as. and as a result of that i am not going to run for reelection. my friend senator mcconnell don't be too deleted i am going to be here for 22 months, and you know i'm going to be doing? the same thing i've done since i first came to the senate. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> we have to make sure that the democrats take control of the senate again. and i feel it is inappropriate for me to soak up all those resources on me and i can be devoting those resources to the caucus, and that's what i intend to do. a decision that i've made has absolute nothing to do with my injury. it has nothing to do with my being minority leader, and it certainly has nothing to do with my ability to be reelected because the path to reelection is much easier than it probably has been for anytime i run for
reelection. >> i get a little upset sometimes when i hear optician say that they're going to go and spend time with her family after they decide that they are not going to be in politics anymore. he's a wonderful husband and a wonderful father. so that's been more important than the other things that he's done with his life. >> somehow with my background my upbringing to have the experience i've had is really a miracle i don't want people in the state of nevada to know that i am so grateful, and i have done my best. i haven't been perfect but it really tried my hardest to represent the people of the state of nevada.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> harry reid's video from this morning announcing again his intention not to run for reelection in 2016 the national republican senatorial committee the and as rc responding to the news quote on the verge of losing his own election and after losing the majority, senator harry reid has decided to hang up his rusty spurs. not only does he instantly becomes irrelevant and a lame duck, his retirement signals
that there is no hope for the democrats to regain control of the senate. again that is from the in rfc. coming up at noon eastern on c-span everything on medicaid and the sustainable growth rate participants will talk about the so-called doc fix passed yesterday by the house. still a bit of an air in the senate. they will talk about his of medicare and the discussion coming up at noon from the alliance were health reform. here are some of our featured programs for this weekend on the c-span networks.
>> general elections in great britain are just over one month away, may 7 and just a british minister david cameron and labour party leader ed miliband appeared on live question and answer session program on london's sky news program. prime minister kan has rejected a head-to-head debate with ed miliband opting instead to participate in a seven party debate on april 2.
>> welcome to cameron and millet and life. the battle for number 10. good evening. tonight sees the first big election test for two men, one of whom will be the uk's next prime minister. david cameron and ed miliband are the only people with a genuine chance of forming the next government. tonight, we will see what they're made of. >> over the next 90 minutes both men will face jeremy head-to-head and also answer the questions of our studio audience. david cameron will be interviewed by jeremy, then join me today questions from our audience. after that ed miliband will face questions from the studio and we finished with his head-to-head with jeremy. so let's get to it. the elections start here and now. first off the prime minister and leader of the conservative party, david cameron.
[applause] >> prime minister, do not many good things that were in this country when you came to power? >> i don't have exact figures but i know they use the fuji -- the banks have gone up in their many amazing volunteers to man those of banks and provide an important service. spirit there were 66 when he came to power. there are now 421. 900,000 people took food parcels last year, free food parcels. you talk about broken britain and fixing it. you have no more broken up and was. >> i don't accept that the if you look at what's happened with our economy to our 1.8 in a million more people in work than when i became prime minister to quit 900,000 jewish people -- >> increasing food banks a market success?
>> has been increasing food bank usage. that's partly because of the difficulties we face as a country. it's also, jeremy come because we change the rules, the previous government did allow job centers to advertise the existence of a bank. that that would be bad pr. i thought i was a wrong decision a poor decision so we allowed them to point people towards the banks defended them. the big picture is here, is we want to get more people back to face, we've turned the economy around and it's jobs -- >> it's unacceptable in a rich country like ours that there are that number of people depending on free food they. >> obvious on what few people to be using food banks and i want more people to have the security of the job but we have created 1000 jobs for everyday this government has been in office. that's a statistic but behind that statistic people are able to provide for their families, who are earning a wage can were able to build a better life. >> how many of those jobs are
zero our contract? >> about one in 50 jobs. >> do you want -- >> some people choose your hours contracted for instance, students because they want the flexibility -- >> what about -- >> hold on a second to we outlawed government to do this the idea of exclusive zero hours contract we can only work for one business. we said that shouldn't happen but it is a myth some people want to say that jobs that have been created that's not true -- spent i'm not saying that. ..