Obama forms commission on long lines to vote
March 28th, 2013
03:08 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama forms commission on long lines to vote

(CNN) – Taking steps to make good on a pledge from his State of the Union Address, President Obama signed an executive order Thursday that establishs a bipartisan panel to address long lines at polling stations and other voter irregularities.

"When any Americans – no matter where they live or what their party – are denied that right simply because they can't wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals," Obama said during the State of the Union. "We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it. And so does our democracy."

The new panel will be led by two leading election lawyers from each party, Benjamin Ginsburg and Robert Bauer. Ginsburg has served as counsel to the Republican National Committee and most recently to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign while Bauer is the former White House counsel under President Obama.

"I'm asking two long-time experts in the field, who've recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney's campaign, to lead it," Obama also said during the State of the Union. "We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it. And so does our democracy."

The panel only has the power to make recommendations. State and local authorities are tasked with administering elections and ultimately have the final say on resource allocations. Moreover, only Congress has the power to create national standards around early voting, voter ID laws and means of registration.

The US Supreme Court heard challenges to the Voting Rights Act earlier this month which could allow states to make voting more restrictive.

CNN's Jessica Yellin contributed this report


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Tommy G

    Sniffit
    who controlled the ballot printing? Hmmm?
    =====
    What does the printing of the ballot have to do with anything? The ballot was what was required by law. Are you suggesting that the number of referendum questions be arbitrarily limited? That might run into some legal challenges for sure.

    Fact: FL was woefully underprepared for the turnout in certain "select" areas and there was ZERO excuse. Period. You want to talk about people doing their homework, well it starts with the elections officials in charge of setting up the precincts and polling stations/voting locations doing THEIR freekin homework
    ----
    So the Florida election officials shoud have known that people were going to sit in polling booths for extended periods of time to read all of the ELEVEN ballot initiatives and should have expanded their voting facilities four fold and bought 4 times as many voting machines? What dream world do you live in? Even if they wanted to, time and money would have prevented it.

    March 28, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "And if you sit there and read all ELEVEN and haven't prepared ahead of time, it will take a long long time to vote, especially for the poorly educated Democrat supporters. They probably needed it to be read to them."

    And if you plan for the lection while intentionally ignoring voting trends over the past several elections and deliberately failing to take into consideration that the ballot is unusually long this time around, then it conveniently creates long lines and excessive waits that suppress votes at voting locations that are most likely, based on demographic data, to have far more democrats than republicans trying to vote.

    FIFY

    March 28, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Larry L

    @Donna

    "...it will take a long long time to vote, especially for the poorly educated Democrat supporters. They probably needed it to be read to them."
    =======================
    So here we see the real problem. Bigoted, white, xenophobic rIght-wingers feel the "poorly-educated" (read – poor minorities) shouldn't vote. However, they are entitled to work the dirty, hard jobs and to fight and die for America.

    March 28, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Steve

    In my opinion, a Senator or Representative's own views or opinions should not matter as much as the opinions and views of the people they represent. A person is elected based on their views and how they reflect the views of the majority of people they represent. Once they are in office, even if they have a change of heart on a topic, they should still vote the way their electors would, whether they agree with their populous or not. Then, when election time comes again, they can express their opinions and see if they are reelected. Seems like the way it should work.

    March 28, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "So the Florida election officials shoud have known that people were going to sit in polling booths for extended periods of time to read all of the ELEVEN ballot initiatives and should have expanded their voting facilities four fold and bought 4 times as many voting machines? "

    Yes. It's that's simple. You dowhat it takes the protect the very first and foremost, most core and keystone right upon which our nation was built...the right to vote (no, sorry, it's not the right to be a cowboy..turn off the NRA cartoons). Or, and here's what puts the lie to your silly question, they could have widened the voting window, i.e., allowed more early voting, etc. Instead, that was yet another thing we saw in GOP/Teatroll controlled states across the country in preparation for 2012: attempts to legislatively NARROW the voting window, such as making the early voting periods SMALLER, so there would be LESS time for people to cast their ballots.

    March 28, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. James Bond

    Repubs were the ones caught two times during presidential elections, yet the crying never ends,donna has twisted the facts so much, she forgot what they are

    March 28, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Obama would simply take over as dictator, and eliminate voting entirely.

    March 28, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. rrjackson

    How come I can do my taxes, balance my checking account, pay my bills and check on my test results from the doctor with a smartphone and for some reason it's still impossible to cast a vote that way? We can get this whole voting situation under control. There's no reason for it to be so difficult to reliably hold an election without disenfranchising people.

    March 28, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. Rick in OP

    I live in Florida. Due to early voting, we voted two weeks before the November 2012 election. If I recall correctly, early voting was possible for about 10 to 12 days before the election. Our county supervisor of elections mailed sample ballots out about four weeks before the election. The local newspapers always have the the sample ballot on the weekend before the election. There was plenty of time to read the ballot prior to arriving at the polling place. If you have trouble voting in Florida it is not because someone has tried to prevent you from voting. Face it, some people are too dumb to vote and will have problems in every election no matter what.

    March 28, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    @ Rick in OP

    Nice try, but there were widespread reports of long lines and excessive waits at EARLY VOTING IN FL. Rick Scott and the GOP/Teatroll legislature reduced number of early voting days AND the hours of the day during which people could vote early. We're not just talking about the Tuesday of the election and everyone showing up to the test without No. 2 pencil, so you can stop with the misdirection any time now.

    March 28, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "Due to early voting, we voted two weeks before the November 2012 election. "

    No you didn't. The GOP/Teatroll FL legislature reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to 8 in 2011.

    March 28, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. Name lynn

    Obama you are right about the long lines voting, the people is working an get off work late an wants to vote its great,what a way o go obama.

    March 28, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
1 2