Ben Hovland, Commissioner, U.S. Election Assistance Commission

Benjamin Hovland was confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on January 2, 2019 to serve on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Mr. Hovland currently serves as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) for the Board of Advisors.

In 2020, Commissioner Hovland served as EAC Chairman and helped lead the agency during an election year with unprecedented challenges. Under his leadership, the EAC administered nearly $825 million in federal grant money to help election officials respond to the pandemic and enhance election security. In addition to distributing critical funding, the EAC strategically pivoted resources to help election officials as they confronted obstacles and made difficult decisions of how to best run their elections.

As EAC Chairman, Mr. Hovland also served as Co-Chair of Election Infrastructure Subsector’s Government Coordinating Council and Chair of the Joint Subsector COVID-19 Working Group to coordinate pandemic response amongst state and local election officials, federal partners, and the private sector. Other innovations under his leadership included the first-ever National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, which led national recruitment efforts to alleviate concerns about a significant shortage in poll workers due to the pandemic.

During Commissioner Hovland’s tenure as Chairman, the EAC also adopted a new version of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). Known as VVSG 2.0, this represents the first major overhaul of the standards in 15 years and a major leap forward for future election systems.

Mr. Hovland’s career in elections spans over 20 years and includes service as Acting Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, where he was a driving force behind Congress appropriating $380 million in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to enhance election security to the states in 2018. While at the Senate, he focused on the federal government’s role in election administration and campaign finance regulation. He organized several hearings on election security preparations and improving election administration. He was integral to pushing for the restoration of a quorum at the EAC in 2015.

Earlier in his career, as the Deputy General Counsel for the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, he focused on legal issues related to the administration of state and federal elections, including recounts, poll worker training, voter registration list maintenance, statewide database matching, voter education resources and ballot initiative litigation.

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    “Election officials are the heroes of our democracy, working harder than almost anyone I know to ensure that every one of us can exercise our fundamental right to vote. The intimidation and threats against these dedicated officials and their families must stop."

    Kathy Boockvar
    Vice President of Election Operations and Support, Center for Internet Security
    Kathy Boockvar
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    “Democracy can only survive and thrive if we respect and protect its values and principles. Elected officials must respect those they serve, freely act within their elected authority and act on behalf of a nation that ensures their safety so they may make decisions without fear or intimidation. That is a true democracy."

    Sheriff Paul Penzone
    Maricopa County, Arizona
    Sheriff Paul Penzone
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    “Access to the ballot should not be stymied in any manner, nor should we ever lose valuable election officials because they are worn down from harassment, fear, threats and undue job hardships created to alter public faith in the electoral process. "

    Kathy Holland
    Director of Elections, Alamance County North Carolina (Ret.)
    Kathy Holland
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    “I joined the committee because I took an oath, along with my law enforcement colleagues, to protect and serve all persons, which is in alignment with my personal values and morals. "

    Captain Harold Love
    Michigan State Police (Ret.), Owner and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Harold L. Love & Associates
    Captain Harold Love
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    “The 2020 election cycle brought many challenges for election officials, but the most shocking for me were the death threats, verbal assaults, intimidation, and scare tactics. I am one of the election officials that had my life and the lives of my family members threatened, and the threats have not ceased."

    Tina Barton
    Senior Elections Expert, The Elections Group
    Tina Barton
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    “There are many issues that have become politicized, but ensuring the safety of election workers should never be. These are the people responsible for overseeing the democratic process that serves as the foundation of our republic."

    Jonathan Bydlak
    Director, Governance Program, R Street Institute
    Jonathan Bydlak
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    “My dad was a city clerk. Elections were a central and cherished part of his job. I joined this committee to ensure that today’s election officials can keep America’s elections running safely and securely, just like he did."

    Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian
    Middlesex County, Massachusetts
    Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian
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    “Election officials are unsung heroes of American democracy—they make sure our system operates as intended. Threats to these public servants are an attack on democracy itself. Law enforcement and election officials working together can help chart a safer and more secure path forward for future elections."

    Orion Danjuma
    Counsel, Protect Democracy
    Orion Danjuma
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    “As a country, we must protect election officials to keep our elections secure and fair. Law enforcement and election officials must work together to keep this new threat from interfering in our elections."

    Neal Kelley
    Registrar of Voters (Ret.) Orange County, California
    Neal Kelley
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    “As an election official who experienced the verbal threats and intimidation directed at me and my staff I feel I must be a voice on this committee to work with law enforcement to address this issue."

    Joseph Gloria
    Registrar of Voters, Clark County, Nevada
    Joseph Gloria
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    “Election workers are the guardians of our democracy, and attacks on them for doing their jobs are unacceptable. I’m proud to stand with and in support of this group of law enforcement and election officials, who are working on practical solutions to keep our elections safe and secure."

    Larry Norden
    Senior Director, Elections & Government, Brennan Center for Justice
    Larry Norden
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    “I have joined this committee because I believe in the mission and have full confidence that we will develop practices that are results driven and further strengthen the pipeline between law enforcement and election officials."

    Derek Bowens
    Director of Elections, Durham County, North Carolina
    Derek Bowens