Voting should not be an endurance sport in this country. In 2012, voters in some states waited hours to make their voices heard on Election Day – particularly in neighborhoods with a high proportion of African-American and Latino voters. There are lots of reasons for the long lines – poorly-resourced polling place, broken voting machines, inadequately trained poll workers, and voter processes in dire need of modernization.
We were pleased when the President ad-libbed in his victory speech about the long lines – pledging that “we have to fix that.” In the first State of the Union of his second term, President Obama announced that he was appointing the top lawyers from his campaign and Mitt Romney’s campaign to chair a bi-partisan commission to make recommendations on how to fix the long lines.
After four hearings in four cities, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration released its report making 19 recommendations to improve the voting experience. Many of the Commission’s recommendations are policies that Common Cause has advocated for years – online voter registration, expanding early voting, ensuring bilingual poll workers in communities with significant non-English proficient populations and improving poll worker recruitment, among others.
Last week, Common Cause released our own report, “Did We Fix That?,” in which we analyzed the Commission’s recommendations and assessed their implementation in ten swing states where elections are expected to be close. We found a mixed bag.
On Saturday, I joined C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to talk about our findings and take view phone calls. You can see the segment here:
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Voting and Elections