National: Wait times at polls in 2016 election improved in several key states, new survey results show |

While many voters reported long lines at polling locations around the country during the 2012 presidential election, this year the overall amount of time people had to wait to vote improved significantly, according to a new survey examining voter experience during the 2016 presidential election. Charles Stewart III, the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science at MIT, today presented the preliminary findings of the Survey on the Performance of American Elections (SPAE), during a conference hosted by the Pew Charitable Trusts on the evolution of voting administration since the 2012 election. Stewart found that in a number of states where voters experienced some of the longest waiting times in the 2012 presidential election—including South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland—there was notable improvement in 2016. In Florida, Stewart found “tremendous improvement in terms of how long people reported that they waited to vote.” The findings show that “all the effort over the last four years that was invested in dealing with problems President Obama identified with lines, those efforts appear to have paid off,” Stewart says.