WASHINGTON, D.C.–U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), on the first day of the 113th Congress, reintroduced her election reform bill–the LINE Act–which would help ensure that all American voters can cast a ballot in federal elections without enduring hours-long delays at their polling places.
President Obama signaled his commitment to this important election reform Monday in his second inaugural address when he said, “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”
“Forcing American voters to stand in line for hours is tantamount to denying their fundamental right to vote,” Boxer said. “President 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.”
In November, 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.
The LINE Act (or the Lines Interfere with National Elections Act), which Boxer first introduced at the end of the 112th Congress, would require the attorney general, in consultation with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, to issue new national standards by Jan. 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.
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 Election Assistance Commission 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.
Boxer has also called on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to address the long lines and Election Day dysfunction faced by voters across the country by recommending nominees to the Election Assistance Commission.