U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware

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ICYMI: News Journal column applauds FAST Voting Act

The News Journal’s longtime columnist Harry Themal wrote a column Friday praising Senator Coons’ legislation to make voting faster and more accessible to all voters. The column argues that legislation like the Louis L. Redding Fair, Accurate, Secure and Timely Voting Act of 2012 (FAST Voting Act) sponsored by Senator Coons would improve voting access and overall voting efficiency.

Coons’ idea deserves serious consideration because by any measure, the election this month was a disaster in all too many states.

Coons cites an 18-year-old first-time voter still in line in Miami-Dade County, Fla., after nearly five hours, by which time President Obama already had been declared the winner. At least a dozen other states also must not have had enough polling places, voting machines and personnel to handle large turnouts forced to wait for up to seven or eight hours.

The bill would zero in on reducing waiting times at the “persistently poorest polling places” by assuring polling locations match population distribution. FAST hopes to improve access to the ballot by providing for flexible registration, including on the same day as the election; assistance to voters who do not speak English or who have disabilities; formal training of election officers; and effective access for members of the armed forces.

Delaware should consider a grant to make provisions for voting in the event of a natural or other disaster. As Coons points out, Superstorm Sandy only had to make a slight turn and Delaware would have been dramatically impacted.

Click here to read the entire column on The News Journal’s website.

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