Former President Carter (search) and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III (search) will head a study commission that will recommend changes in the nation's federal election system.

The bipartisan panel, announced Thursday by American University's Center for Democracy and Election Management, is charged with examining such matters as the disputed 2000 presidential election (search).

"I am concerned about the state of our electoral system and believe we need to improve it," said Carter, a Democrat whose Carter Center in Atlanta has monitored dozens of elections around the world. "There is much we could learn from other democracies and from our own citizens."

"America's democracy is the backbone of our society, and only through fair elections can we guarantee that our system remains healthy," said Baker, a Republican, who was the top U.S. diplomat under President George H.W. Bush.

Other members of the privately funded panel include former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., who lost his seat in last year's election, former Reps. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., and Susan Molinari, R-N.Y., and Robert Mosbacher, the first President Bush's secretary of commerce.