President Obama said last month that no one should have to wait more than half an hour to vote. Now two Democratic senators are introducing a bill aimed at making that pledge a reality. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Bill Nelson of Florida, is the first effort to act on the recommendations of a bipartisan presidential commission, unveiled last month. “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,” said Nelson in a statement sent out Wednesday evening.
The two senators first introduced the Lines Interfere with National Elections (LINE) Act in late 2012, in response to the lines that kept some Florida, Virginia, and Ohio voters waiting up to seven hours to cast a ballot. In his election night victory speech, Obama pledged to “fix” the problem.
Now Boxer and Nelson have updated the legislation to include recommendations from the presidential commission, which was co-chaired by Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg, the top lawyers for Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s campaigns, respectively. That panel suggested several ideas—among them expanding various forms of early voting; promoting online registration, and cleaning up the rolls—to make the voting process smoother and more efficient.