Partnership for Public Service statement on bipartisan proposal to reform the Presidential Transition Act
July 20, 2022
WASHINGTON – The nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service released the following statement from President and CEO Max Stier after a bipartisan group of senators announced a proposal to reform the Presidential Transition Act:
“The peaceful transfer of power is our country’s most cherished democratic tradition and one that should not be taken for granted. One significant way to improve the transition process, which was illuminated during the 2020 presidential transition, is to reform and clarify ascertainment—the mechanism that releases resources and gives access to agencies to the presumptive winner of a presidential election.
“The bipartisan proposal announced today would make meaningful improvements to the transition process by releasing resources on an equitable basis to the candidates in case there is no clear winner immediately after the election. This critical transition assistance will better ensure that the eventual winner is prepared to govern effectively on Day One. The Partnership for Public Service commends the 16 senators in this bipartisan group for introducing these reforms, which will strengthen our democracy, and particularly Senators Chris Coons, Rob Portman and Ben Sasse for leading the deliberations on ascertainment.”
The ascertainment changes are part of a broader package of reforms that includes establishing clear guidelines for certifying and counting electoral votes for president and vice president.
Since 2008, the Center for Presidential Transition at the Partnership for Public Service has served as the nation’s premier nonpartisan source of information and resources for helping presidential candidates and their teams lay the groundwork for a new administration or for a president’s second term.
Earlier this year, the Center published a full analysis of the 2020 presidential transition that included recommendations for ensuring that transition assistance would be provided even in the event of a delay in ascertainment.
During the 2020-21 transition, the Center shared several analyses on the impact of delaying ascertainment:
- Top 15 Costs of Delaying the Presidential Transition: A list of the challenges created by delaying ascertainment. In the 2020 election, ascertainment was declared on Nov. 23, 20 days after Election Day.
- How does the GSA “ascertain” the outcome of an election? An inside look at the GSA, ascertainment and the 2000 election: An explanation of ascertainment and historical context from the 2000 presidential election.
During the past 20 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to building a better government and a stronger democracy. We work across administrations to help transform the way government works by providing agencies with the data insights they need to succeed, developing effective leaders, inspiring the next generation to public service, facilitating smooth presidential transitions and recognizing exceptional federal employees. Visit ourpublicservice.org, follow us @PublicService and subscribe today to get the latest federal news, information on upcoming Partnership programs and events, and more.