Waiting in long lines at the polls isn’t good for any democracy, but it is particularly worrisome in a country like America, where most citizens are already burdened by a slew of other responsibilities. Even more troubling are new findings which indicate that waiting in long lines to cast your ballot is only a problem for minorities in this country.
The New York Times is reporting that long lines suppressed turnout in the 2012 election, with Hispanics and blacks waiting in line longer than whites:
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis determined that blacks and Hispanics waited nearly twice as long in line to vote on average than whites. Florida had the nation’s longest lines, at 45 minutes, followed by the District of Columbia, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia, according to Charles Stewart III, the political science professor who conducted the analysis.
A separate analysis, by an Ohio State University professor and The Orlando Sentinel, concluded that more than 200,000 voters in Florida “gave up in frustration” without voting.
President Obama reportedly plans to push for legislation to alleviate long lines on election day. Democrats in the House and Senate have already introduced legislation that would require states to provide online voter registration and allow at least 15 days of early voting, among other things. Several states are also considering whether to expand early voting.
It is unlikely that Republicans will go along with any move to decrease disenfranchisement since they were the main architects of such plans in the run up to President Obama’s reelection.