Press release via email:
BOXER, NELSON INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO ENSURE VOTERS WAIT NO LONGER THAN THIRTY MINUTES TO VOTE
‘LINE Act’ Will Help Implement the Recommendation of the Bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration Led by Counsels to the Romney and Obama Campaigns
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today introduced an updated version of their legislation – the Lines Interfere with National Elections (LINE) Act – that would help implement the recommendation of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration that no voter should wait in line for more than 30 minutes to cast a ballot. The measure would require states where voters experienced long lines in the 2012 election to develop plans to minimize waits at the polls.
“We can never again allow Americans to stand in line for hours to exercise their right to vote,” Senator Boxer said. “The bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration was right that no voter should wait for longer than a half hour to cast a ballot, and this legislation will help ensure that states are taking action to meet this standard in future elections.”
“In a democracy, you’re supposed to make it easier and less of hardship for people to vote, and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” Senator Nelson said.
Senator Boxer first introduced the LINE Act at the end of the 112th Congress in response to reports that voters in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and other states waited in line for up to seven hours to cast ballots, and Senators Boxer and Nelson renewed the push for the legislation at the start of the 113th Congress.
The legislation has now been updated to include the recommendations and findings released last month by the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which is led by veteran election attorneys, Democrat Bob Bauer and Republican Ben Ginsberg, who served as the chief campaign lawyers for President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney during the last election.
The bill specifically cites the Commission’s finding that more than 5 million voters experienced wait times that exceeded an hour in the 2012 election, and another 5 million waited between a half hour and an hour. The measure also notes that the Commission found that these excessive wait times are avoidable if election officials plan properly and have systems in place to respond when problems occur at the polls.
To help implement the Commission’s goal of reducing wait times to under a half hour, the bill would require states that experienced long voter lines in the 2012 election to implement remedial plans to fix the problems before the next federal election. Under the bill, the Attorney General working with the Election Assistance Commission would identify those states that had a substantial number of voters who waited more than 30 minutes to vote. Those states would have to develop and comply with a remedial plan to ensure that voters will not face similar delays in the future.
The Commission also offered a series of recommendations for best practices that state and local elections officials can take to reduce voter lines and improve the voting experience for all Americans.
I’d think the bill would have better chances if it was announced with a Republican co-sponsor. I take it that the failure to have one means something.