Plan would cut time waiting to vote
WASHINGTON — Thousands of Americans stood in line for hours to vote in the November election. Two Democratic senators want to prevent that from happening again.
Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California plan to introduce The LINE Act (for Lines Interfere with National Elections), which calls for national standards for polling sites. The goal is to ensure that no voter waits longer than an hour to cast a ballot.
“In the interest of fairness and to avoid undermining the credibility of our elections, we should be making voting more convenient, not more difficult,” Nelson said on Tuesday. “People should not have to stand in line for hours to exercise a basic right, not in a democracy like ours.”
The measure would require the attorney general, in consultation with the Election Assistance Commission, to issue standards by Jan. 1, 2014, regarding the minimum number of voting machines, election workers and other resources needed on Election Day and during early voting periods to ensure waiting times don't exceed an hour.
The bill also would require states where voters endured long lines to implement remedial plans to fix the problems before the next federal election. States where a “substantial” number of voters waited longer than 90 minutes to vote in 2012 would have to comply with a remedial plan to ensure voters would not face similar delays in the future.
A news release announcing the proposal doesn't define “substantial.” But it's bound to apply to Nelson's home state of Florida, where the average voter waited about 45 minutes on Election Day, according to data analyzed by Charles Stewart, a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
News reports indicated some people waited as long as seven hours to vote on Election Day.
Florida had the longest average wait time, followed by the District of Columbia (34 minutes), Maryland (33 minutes) and Virginia (26 minutes), according to Stewart.
States with the shortest average wait times were Vermont (two minutes), Maine (four minutes), and Alaska (four minutes).
The national average wait time was 13 minutes on Election Day and 20 minutes on early voting days, Stewart's data indicated. It showed that minorities had substantially longer waits, on average, than whites.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Feds to protect 20 coral species
- Louisiana Gov. Jindal sues Obama over Common Core
- Johns’ ex-aide admits thefts
- Senate to look at earthquake risks at California nuke plant
- Defense rests in case against ex-Va. governor, first lady
- Texas man cleared of shooting drunken driver who killed his 2 sons
- Ferguson regains its peace, normalcy
- Pilot missing in Va. fighter crash
- Polygamists set to open winery in border town
- Forest Service OKs logging in California forests hit by wildfire
- Retailers warned about software