Skip to main content

Cartoon of voters queued up to cast ballots
The MacArthur Foundation commissioned a poll asking Americans who cast ballots in the general election this year whether they support the setting of national standards for voting. A super-majority—88 percent—said yes. In a Tuesday night speech at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library that focused heavily on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and current challenges to it, Attorney General Eric Holder referenced the MacArthur poll:
That’s why it is important for national leaders, academic experts, and members of the public to engage in a frank, thorough, and inclusive discussion about how our election systems can be made stronger and more accessible. [...]

Fortunately, modern technology provides ways to address many of the problems that impede the efficient administration of elections, and to bring our elections into the 21st century. For example, by creating a system of automatic, portable registration—in which government officials use existing databases, with appropriate privacy protections, to automatically register every eligible voter in America and enable their registration to move when they do, rather the current system in which voters must navigate complicated and often-changing voter registration rules—we could not only improve the integrity of our elections, but save precious taxpayer resources [...]

Election officials, wherever they are found, should also always be striving to administer elections more efficiently and more fairly. This means taking steps to address long lines at polling places—and ensuring that every polling place has an adequate number of voting machines. We must acknowledge that giving our fellow citizens access to the voting booth for longer hours and over additional days will enable more of them to cast their ballots without unduly interfering with the work or family obligations that so many have. [...] And we must also acknowledge that which is historically true: that the arc of American history has bent towards expanding the franchise. This generation must be true to that more inclusive history. This is our time; it is not a time to restrict the franchise.

The problem, as was well documented by numerous parties spotlighting the war on voters, is that Republican officials— governors, state legislators, secretaries of state—have eagerly sought ways to do exactly that: Restrict the franchise for partisan advantage. These officials and the advocacy organizations that goad them into action are bent on keeping minorities and the poor from voting for a simple reason. When they do, Republican candidates and ideas benefit. The anti-democratic nature of the obstacles they erect bothers them not at all. Morality for the party whose adherents spout zillions of pious words on the subject doesn't matter when power is at stake.

Holder did not endorse any particular legislation in his speech, and a Justice Department spokeswoman told Ryan J. Reilly afterward that the attorney general was just saying such standards are "worth consideration."

One such piece of legislation was introduced earlier this month by Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. It's the LINE Act (Lines Interfere with National Elections Act). It would mandate that voters not have to queue up for more than one hour waiting to cast their ballots in federal elections. It would require the attorney general to issue new national standards by Jan. 1, 2014. Included in the mandate would be an adequate number of voting machines, election workers and other relevant resources both on Election Day and for early voting periods.

That proposed act could use a nickname. Call it the Lloyd Blankfein Standing-in-Line Law. When the CEO of Goldman Sachs found himself having to wait at his Manhattan precinct while pollworkers fixed some glitches, he stepped out of the queue and went to the office. The test for setting a standard for standing in line to vote ought to be: How long would a Blankfein have to wait?

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 01:09 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

GainesT1958, Alumbrados, Mimikatz, Alma, Sean Robertson, Chi, hester, Bendygirl, glitterscale, abarefootboy, Gooserock, mimi, greenbird, Minnesota Deb, Andrew C White, liz, eeff, TX Unmuzzled, xynz, RFK Lives, brighton, hubcap, Creosote, Bugsby, Heart of the Rockies, Addison, cyberKosFan, CoolOnion, CatFelyne, boadicea, chuckvw, bwren, librarianman, Cedwyn, Redfire, psnyder, TexDem, Farugia, pat bunny, Lawrence, kj in missouri, JayDean, Sybil Liberty, Skennet Boch, Desert Rose, bloomer 101, 3goldens, el dorado gal, subtropolis, HudsonValleyMark, OpherGopher, Simplify, dewtx, Brooke In Seattle, Dobber, Laurence Lewis, sunbro, Alan Arizona, Land of Enchantment, lgmcp, Born in NOLA, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, tonyahky, KenBee, luckydog, Lefty Coaster, blueoasis, Preston S, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, blueoregon, ms badger, phonegery, john07801, EdSF, Mary Mike, flumptytail, Unbozo, HCKAD, Aunt Martha, cyncynical, SeaTurtle, jnhobbs, Fireshadow, gchaucer2, carpunder, Rumarhazzit, uciguy30, jwinIL14, rogerdaddy, mconvente, Sixty Something, Involuntary Exile, bythesea, elwior, lineatus, monkeybrainpolitics, Lujane, smartdemmg, bluesheep, home solar, Gemina13, petulans, luckylizard, BYw, LinSea, marzook, TheOpinionGuy, sanglug, kevinpdx, stevenwag, winsock, Words In Action, Railfan, smileycreek, FogCityJohn, gramofsam1, Polly Syllabic, 2020adam, ericlewis0, Otteray Scribe, USHomeopath, cocinero, Oh Mary Oh, divedeeper, slice, allisoneisall, slowbutsure, CoExistNow, mrsgoo, PorridgeGun, smoothnmellow, Grandma Susie, createpeace, enhydra lutris, Be Skeptical, PhilJD, VTCC73, MKDAWUSS, DRo, Mentatmark, Auriandra, No one gets out alive, hulibow, James Allen, anodnhajo, StonyB, Siri, Eric Nelson, a2nite, postretiree, JGibson, This old man, doroma, arizonablue, raina, Glen The Plumber, Lily O Lady, Chaddiwicker, nomandates, alice kleeman, Icicle68, bob152, rigcath, MBishop1, martianexpatriate, WithHoney, CA wildwoman

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site