U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), 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 yesterday 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,” Senator 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 Senator Boxer first introduced at the end of the 112th Congress – would require the Attorney General, in consultation with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), to issue new national standards by January 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.