What We’re Reading: Waiting Times at Ballot Boxes Draw Scrutiny
The New York Times published an article Monday on the extraordinarily long lines at polling places last November and how members of Congress and the president are working to prevent similar wait times in future elections.
Shortly after the election, Senator Coons introduced the FAST Voting Act to make voting faster and more accessible to all voters.
Several recent polls and studies suggest that long waiting times in some places depressed turnout in 2012 and that lines were longest in cities, where Democrats outnumber Republicans. In a New York Times/CBS News poll taken shortly after Election Day, 18 percent of Democrats said they waited at least a half-hour to vote, compared with 11 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans.
White House officials have told Congressional leaders that the president plans to press for action on Capitol Hill, and Democrats say they expect him to highlight the issue in his State of the Union address next week. Democrats in the House and Senate have already introduced bills that would require states to provide online voter registration and allow at least 15 days of early voting, among other things.
Fourteen states are also considering whether to expand early voting, including the battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio and Virginia, according to FairVote, a nonprofit group that advocates electoral change. Florida, New York, Texas and Washington are looking at whether to ease registration and establish preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds.
Studies have shown that, due to the long lines at the polls in 2012, hundreds of thousands of voters left without casting their ballot. The longer waits were predominately in cities with higher concentrations of voters, with some voters in Miami having to wait more than eight hours to cast their ballot.
Click here to learn more about the FAST Voting Act.
Click here to read the full article on the New York Time’s website.