Long lines at the polls stir calls in Congress for election reform


Voter fraud, schmoter schmaud, take a number, we've got bigger fish to fry. Those endless waits in endlessly long lines at the polls caught the collective eye of a few Democratic Congress members. Glad that got your attention, guys, because that issue was just a tad worrisome to whole lot of us. And by a tad worrisome I mean unbelievably distressing. And by unbelievably distressing I mean embarrassingly appalling.

There were people standing in long, cold lines for up to nine hours, some well past midnight. The pages-long, baffling ballots didn't help, nor did the shortage of voting machines and poll workers. Of course, to some secretaries of states and governors, the confusion and eventual giving up and leaving were music to their GOP ears.

Voting should not only be easy, it should be easily accessible and free. Americans should be encouraged to cast their ballots, not discouraged, suppressed, intimidated, confused, stymied, obstructed, misled or costly. Way too many of us (mostly Democrats, mostly black and Latino) were subjected to the equivalent of a poll tax by the disenfranchisement efforts of Republican governors and legislators.

And early voting should be available everywhere, no strings attached. Instead, officials like Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted restricted it, knowing full well who would be most affected. And don't get me started on Florida's Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican.

Not very patriotic of them, now is it?

The Hill:

Now, just days after the polls closed, a number of Democrats say Congress should intervene to "normalize" voting nationwide and ensure the snags at the polls in 2012 don't plague elections down the line. 

"This ought not to be difficult. This is not rocket science," Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said in a phone interview Friday. "We've got to figure out how to clean up federal elections."

Rep. Jim Moran, another Virginia Democrat, echoed that message, saying the delays are "unforgivable in a modern society." 

"It's a form of voter suppression," Moran said Friday by phone. "For people to have to give up hours out of their work day … how is that different than a poll tax?

The rash of delays makes it "incumbent on the Congress" to step in and "normalize the process" nationwide, Moran said.

Standing O!

Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is also calling for federal reforms.

Now we're talking.

thumbs up

But-- and there's always a but-- finding GOP cosponsors is another story.

  • So who decides who should vote and who shouldn't? People who interpret a uniform system to mean that "thought and mental/emotional energy" aren't also important?

    Access should be easy. That nothing to do with enthusiasm or "energy", it has to do with giving ALL individuals the opportunity to exercise their power to choose.

    Should we have a "dilettante" (by the way, that's the correct spelling, so does your typo make you one of the less qualified to vote?) police force deciding who can "think" and who can't?

    Who decides who is "thoughtful"? And how are long lines conducive to enticing only thoughtful people to vote?

    And did it occur to you that those "not willing to take time and energy to vote" may not be ABLE to?


  • No, voting should be hard. It should be something into which one puts great thought and mental/emotional energy. It should be something that is valued and treasured. It should be something that, once done, gives a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. 

    Anyone not willing to take time and energy to vote should not be doing it. This is too important to trivialize by making it something that one can do easily, thereby encouraging the action being done without thinking. We don't need the thoughtless votes of the dillatantes. We need the thoughtful, considered votes of those who are willing to devote work to the process.

  • David G

     Voting through mail and the Internet should be at the top of the list.  In California, we can vote through mail in ballots, easy, simple and no lines...  All you have to do is request the ballot in advance and it's mailed to you.  You don't need any excuses or notes from doctors... and the Internet is the wave of the future... Spend some money on making that work... New Jersey, in a matter of two days, made internet voting available because of the storm.  If they can do that in two days, all states should be able to do in in a years time.  DG