Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
|For Immediate Release: |
January 22, 2013
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553
Boxer Introduces Bill on Day One of the 113th Congress to Fight Long Election Lines
The “LINE Act” Would Set National Standards and Require Action by States Where Voters Waited in Line for Hours
Washington, D.C. – 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.
Senator Boxer’s bill also would require states where voters endured long lines to implement remedial plans to fix the problems before the next federal election. Under the legislation, the Attorney General working with the EAC would identify states that had a substantial number of voters who waited more than 90 minutes to vote in the 2012 election. Those states would have to comply with a remedial plan to ensure voters would not face similar delays in the future.
Senator Boxer has also called on Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to address the long lines and Election Day dysfunction faced by voters across the country by recommending nominees to the Election Assistance Commission.