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Will Washington Help Voters After the Long Lines of 2012?

Brenden Timpe

President Obama raised eyebrows during his inaugural address last month when he put the fight against long election-day lines in the context of the nation’s movement toward “tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice.” Now the New York Times says Congress is preparing for a showdown on the issue.

Long lines at the polls are nothing new, but a flurry of evidence indicates that the problem is getting worse, not better. Florida has been singled out as one of the worst performers of 2012 – voters in the Sunshine State waited an average of nearly 45 minutes at the polls, according to an MIT survey. An analysis by the Orlando Sentinel estimates that more than 200,000 Florida voters gave up and left without voting once they saw the line snaking out the door. (A recent Pew study said South Carolina's lines were the worst in 2008 and 2010, with voters waiting an hour on average.)