Boxer Introduces Bill to Help Voters Avoid Long Lines on Election Day
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today introduced the LINE Act, election reform legislation designed to guarantee that all American voters can cast a ballot in federal elections without facing hours-long delays at their polling places.
Senator Boxer said, “It is unacceptable that many Americans had to wait in line for five, six or seven hours to cast their ballots. The LINE Act will help ensure that every American has an equal chance to vote without enduring hours-long delays at their polling places.”
Voters in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and other states waited in line for up to seven hours to cast ballots. Some voters were still in line in the early hours of Wednesday morning, long after the polls had closed. During his election night speech, President Obama promised that fixing the problems that led to these delays would be a top priority.
The LINE Act (or the Lines Interfere with National Elections Act) would require the Attorney General, in consultation with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), to issue new national standards by January 1, 2014 regarding the minimum number of voting machines, election workers, and other election resources that are necessary to conduct Federal elections on Election Day and during early voting periods. The bill explicitly states that the goal of minimum standards is to prevent a waiting time of more than one hour at any polling place.
Senator Boxer’s bill also would require states where voters endured long lines to implement remedial plans to fix the problems before the next federal election. Under the legislation, the Attorney General working with the EAC would identify states that had a substantial number of voters who waited more than 90 minutes to vote in the 2012 election. Those states would have to comply with a remedial plan to ensure voters would not face similar delays in the future.
In addition to the legislation, Senator Boxer sent a letter last month to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to address the long lines and Election Day dysfunction faced by voters across the country by recommending nominees to the Election Assistance Commission.