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Name: Davidson, Donetta
Current Position: Former Chair

Prior to joining the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in August 2005, Donetta L. Davidson spent her entire career handling election-related matters, from being a county clerk to serving as Colorado’s secretary of state.

Davidson was born August 14, 1943, into a military family in Liberal, Kansas, while her father was serving in the U.S. Army in Europe. With her mother, she moved to her mother’s family farm in Colorado. After her father retuned from World War II, her family moved first to Two Buttes and then settled in Las Animas in Bent County when she was in the third grade. Her father was a rancher and her mother worked in a dress shop.
She attended Blair Business School in Colorado Springs in 1961-1962, but left to marry a rancher. Despite her family’s Democratic background, she joined the Republican Party “simply because they asked me.” During the 1970s, she was vice-chairman of the Bent County Republican Party.
After raising a family in Las Animas, she began her career in election administration when she went to work as a part-time clerk in the Bent County Clerk and Recorder's Office. In 1978 she was elected the Bent County clerk and recorder, a position she held until 1986. That year, she was appointed director of elections for the Colorado Department of State, where she supervised county clerks in all election matters and assisted with recall issues for municipal, special district and school district elections.
In 1994, she was elected Arapahoe County clerk and recorder as a Republican and was reelected to a second term without opposition in 1998. In 1999, she removed 30,000 ineligible voters from the rolls. In July of that year, Governor Bill Owens appointed Davidson as the Colorado secretary of state after the death of the elected secretary of state. Davidson was elected to the office in 2000 and reelected in 2002 to a four-year term.
During the 2004 presidential contest, Davidson was criticized by some on the left for removing thousands of former felons from the voter rolls—individuals who tend to vote Democratic, according to one assessment. The action seemed to run contrary to state law, which bans only felons serving time in prison or on parole from casting ballots. Federal law forbids voter roll purges within 90 days of a presidential election, but Davidson avoided this restriction by declaring an “emergency.” Davidson has also been criticized for being too friendly to the voting machine companies that she is supposed to regulate.
Davidson was nominated by President George W. Bush in July 2005 to serve on the Election Assistance Commission. She was reappointed to a second term on October 2, 2008, and was elected chair of the EAC for 2010. She previously served as chair in 2007 and vice chair in 2008. Her term of service extends through December 12, 2011.
She has served on the board of directors of the federally-funded Help America Vote Foundation. In 2005, Davidson was elected president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, and she is the former president of the National Association of State Elections Directors. Prior to her EAC appointment, Davidson served on Election Assistance Commission’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee.
Davidson has a son, Todd, a daughter, Trudi, and two granddaughters.
Donetta Davidson (Election Assistance Commission)
An Election Spoiled Rotten (by Greg Palast,
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