We are the only country that does this. Every other democracy uses independent authorities to handle the administration of elections. And basically it’s got a couple of roots; the single largest root is we have traditionally handled elections at the state and local level. Now, that includes of course all the federal elections, and Congress does have the constitutional authority to regulate the time, manner and place of federal elections. [But] we’ve left it to the states, and the states, over many decades, decided that elected officials, secretaries of state, would [be] running elections.
Nobody, I think, thought this through, [and] the result was something that is really terrible. It’s the equivalent of having an NFL game where the referees are part owners of one of the teams. It’s just a terrible way to run an election process. It evolved without forethought, but now it’s there."
Norm Ornstein on why the United States has an election system where partisan officials, such as Democratic and Republican secretaries of state, oversee voting and make election calls (via nprfreshair)