ong lines that caused voters in Maryland and several other states to wait hours at polling places on Election Day are prompting a push for new laws to speed the process of casting a ballot. Lawmakers in Congress and the Maryland General Assembly say they are considering a broad range of ideas, such as increasing the number of early voting centers available in high-population jurisdictions and offering federal grants to states that find ways to streamline the voting process.
Maryland election officials are investigating complaints about wait times in the Nov. 6 election, including reports that some people waited for hours despite lower-than-expected turnout. More than 2 million state residents voted on Election Day and 430,573 voted early.
“In this day and age, voters should not have to wait in lines for hours on Election Day,” said Baltimore Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who has been pressing for changes since before the election. “Legislation that encourages states to utilize early voting could help with a lot of these problems,” he said.
Bottlenecks at the ballot box, which were even more pronounced in Virginia and Florida, came after a highly charged presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. In Maryland, voters also had to decide several controversial ballot questions.
Proponents of speeding up the voting process said they hope to have some changes in place before the 2014 congressional midterm election, which will also feature the gubernatorial election in Maryland.
Full Article: Lawmakers eye proposals to speed voting – Baltimore Sun.