Ed Kilgore earns the Catch for pointing out that an individual example of election-administration malfeasance – in this case, the counting of the ballots for the D.C. elections yesterday – is a symptom of a major flaw in the way the U.S. does elections:

This is a good example of the folly of leaving election administration, and the funding and standards involved in election administration, so entirely in the hands of state and local governments. Many long years ago when I was a poll worker we got paid barely anything and I was pretty much the only worker who hadn’t logged hundreds of miles driving with a turn signal left on. It doesn’t seem conditions have gotten much better.

I have no idea what is going on with the implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, led by Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg. It has faded from the news. And it’s not as if President Barack Obama is doing much to keep it on the agenda. My guess is that the information and best practices they produced will do a little good, but not much. That’s not the commission’s fault. They did what they were asked to do, but their marching orders offered little hope of solving the problem.

Which only compounds the failure of Obama and Democrats on this issue. They did nothing about election administration when they had large majorities in 2009-2010, and they’ve done next to nothing since. There isn’t even an obvious, clear, model legislation for Democrats to pass quickly next time they have a chance (which shows that the Democratic failure dates back to the Democratic Congress and the Democratic presidential campaign of 2007-2008).

Not to let Republicans off the hook. After all, it’s not as if they have made many attempts to make elections better-run and voting easier. I think their inaction is a disgrace, but it reflects their position.

Democrats, however, claim to want to improve elections, and many Democratic constituencies do care about it a lot. The party’s lawmakers and the Democrat in the White House have let them down.

Oh, and: Nice catch!

[Cross-posted at Bloomberg View]

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Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.