Long lines have almost become an Election Day fixture in Ohio and across the country, a sight that voters can reliably expect to see at the polls along with American flags, candidates shaking a few final hands and campaign teams making one last pitch. Do they have to be? The answer, many experts believe, is no. “We have to fix that,” President Barack Obama said in his victory speech early Wednesday, referring to the lengthy lines that greeted many voters at the polls.
On that and other facets governing the logistics of how Americans vote, Election 2012 offered some lessons that, if acted upon, perhaps could smooth future elections. Among the topics under discussion to ease the process are early voting hours, absentee voting, registration updates and ballot formats.
During last weekend’s early voting, hundreds of voters waited outside the board of elections in eastern Downtown from two to four hours to cast in-person absentee ballots.
One reason for the long lines is that, unlike recent elections when the board was open multiple weekends in the weeks leading up to Election Day, last Saturday and Sunday were the only weekend days available this year. And it took a federal lawsuit filed by the Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic Party to obtain even that over Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s opposition.