How to “Fix That:” What Should the President Do About Long Lines?

I’ve been thinking how the President might make good on his election night promise to fix the long line problem (assuming he intends to do anything about it—I’ve been hearing for four years that he’s going to make proposals to fix the FEC and campaign finance problems but there’s been no leadership from the White House on that).

I am thinking that a bipartisan commission should be convened to make recommendations, including draft legislation, to be presented to the president and Congress.  It should have credible Democrats and Republicans, but beginning with those who acknowledge that long lines are a problem (not all Republicans will); local and state election administrators; legal, political, and public policy experts; and political people who could actually get something through Congress.  I read somewhere (I cannot remember where or I would link) that Justice O’Connor would be a good person to head an election reform commission.  I do think that’s a good idea.  The scope of the Commission would be narrower than Carter-Ford or Carter-Baker: the mission would be to deal with the long line problem.  But dealing with the long line problem might take the commission into broader proposals, such as carrots or sticks to get states to adopt early voting or extensive mail-in balloting campaigns, centralization of election databases, requirements for shorter federal ballots if a state like Florida decides it needs to produce a very lengthy ballot containing every word of measures virtually no one would read.  The commission would work quickly, producing a report and proposed legislation within months.  This is something that must be done in the off-season.  Getting election reform done close to elections is too tough.

 

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