Waiting in line to be legislated by Sen. Boxer
Democrats are fed up with waiting in long lines to cast their ballots on Election Day, and they’re doing something about it through legislation introduced Tuesday by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to put an end to waits over 90 minutes.
Dubbed the Lines Interfere with National Elections Act (LINE Act), Boxer’s bill aims to get voters into the voting booths quicker by requiring new national standards for thousands of polling stations nationwide.
“Forcing American voters to stand in line for hours is tantamount to denying their fundamental right to vote,” Boxer said Tuesday after introducing her bill. “President (Barack) Obama is right to make election reform a priority, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that no voter has to face hours-long delays to cast a ballot.”
Ending long lines was a focus point in Obama’s inauguration speech in Washington on Monday, where hundreds of thousands of spectators were herded through slow-moving lines at checkpoints stationed along the National Mall to hear the speech.
“Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote,” Obama told the cheering crowds.
Newspapers and bloggers reported long waiting lines during the 2012 election in numerous states, including Ohio where the Rev. Jesse Jackson compared it to “epic waits endured by South African voters after the fall of apartheid in 1994,” the Washington Post reported.
“These long lines are gallant, but they’re also repressive,” Jackson said.
Boxer’s bill would put new standards into play by 2014 to determine how many voting machines are needed at each poll, how many workers would be required, and other Election Day needs.
The attorney general would help identify which states had lines requiring waits of more than 90 minutes during the 2012 election, and those states would be forced to comply with the new guidelines.