Obama forms commission on long lines to vote
March 28th, 2013
03:08 PM ET
1 year 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. Mikey

    Hip! Hip! Hurray!!! Anyone who supports the Constitution and basic civil rights should applaud this effort.

    March 28, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. much thunder..little rain

    i wonder how much money this commission is going to cost the tax payers...more waste....

    March 28, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Donna

    Why isn't the LSM telling the truth about why people were waiting in long lines in Florida? The ballot was so long it was taking one person 30 minutes in the voting booth. People weren't doing their homework ahead of time to vote quickly. And of course the Democrats and LSM want to twist this into some big bogus conspiracy.

    March 28, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Boo

    Good....those corrupt Republicans should start worrying...

    March 28, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Let's hope this leads to "Uniform Voting" laws in all future general elections.

    March 28, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. DG

    Really, how many more study groups can this guy create!

    March 28, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Donna

    Why isn't the LSM telling the truth about why people were waiting in long lines in Florida? The ballot was so long it was taking one person 30 minutes in the voting booth. People weren't doing their homework ahead of time to vote quickly. And of course the Democrats and LSM want to twist this into some big bogus conspiracy.
    -----------–
    Psst. The ballot was 12 pages long. Furhermore, it was written by the Republicans running the state of Florida.

    March 28, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    much thunder..little rain

    i wonder how much money this commission is going to cost the tax payers...more waste....

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Waste? Really? REALLY??? Would you feel that way if it was YOUR vote that was being compromised?

    March 28, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. Malory Archer

    DG

    Really, how many more study groups can this guy create!

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    As many as it takes to mitigate the damage the rethugs insist on inflicting on America.

    March 28, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. just sayin

    Rudy NYC
    Let's hope this leads to "Uniform Voting" laws in all future general elections.
    -----

    so now the federal government is going to start dictating to the states how to run their elections? of course, anything goes except voter id right? heaven forbid we actually protect the integrity of the election. just push as many people, legitimate or not, through the voting booth. maybe the democrats will suggest pre-filled out ballots for their supporters since most of them are illiterate?

    March 28, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. Malory Archer

    Donna

    Why isn't the LSM telling the truth about why people were waiting in long lines in Florida? The ballot was so long it was taking one person 30 minutes in the voting booth. People weren't doing their homework ahead of time to vote quickly. And of course the Democrats and LSM want to twist this into some big bogus conspiracy.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Is that the story your reichwing screaming heads are feeding your mouthbreathers this week? Why that's almost as good as the also-ran's story about how those locked from the outside factory doors surrounded by barbed wire and crawling with heavily armed guards were to keep those looking for work OUT vs. keeping the factory slaves IN. LOL!!! You've proven once again that P.T. Barnum was right!

    March 28, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    Better to have the Attorney General investigate the Republican governors for suppressing votes in districts with large numbers of minority and poor voters.

    March 28, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. kayla

    the voting system here is worse than the third world countries, the shame of it

    March 28, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "Why isn't the LSM telling the truth about why people were waiting in long lines in Florida? The ballot was so long it was taking one person 30 minutes in the voting booth. People weren't doing their homework ahead of time to vote quickly. And of course the Democrats and LSM want to twist this into some big bogus conspiracy."

    Oh FFS...who controlled the ballot printing? Hmmm? 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. The last several elections, particulalrly 2008, told them EXACTLY what to expect and they deliberately ignored it in hopes that long lines and several hour waits and confusion in certain areas would deter certain voters. It's not freekin rocket science, particularly when held up along side all the redistricting, voter ID laws, new and ridiculous restrictions on voter registration drives and other voter suppression efforts IN GOP CONTROLLED STATES between 2008-2012 (including their new strategy of splitting the electoral votes up, but only in states where it would help them). Ther's no mystery here and no amount of word salad talking point rationalization or reliance on disproven demagoguery about "pervasive voter fraud" saves your argument.

    March 28, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. Donna

    Rudy NYC
    Psst. The ballot was 12 pages long. Furhermore, it was written by the Republicans running the state of Florida.
    -–

    Psst... there were ELEVEN ballot initiatives on the ballot. Are you suggesting that they not be allowed on the ballot? No matter who was running the state they would have had to be there is they meet the criteria to make it onto the ballot.

    BTW, most I have seen where I vote is 3 maybe 4. 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.

    March 28, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. Wes

    Vote absentee.

    March 28, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Donna

    Malory Archer
    Donna
    Why isn't the LSM telling the truth about why people were waiting in long lines in Florida? The ballot was so long it was taking one person 30 minutes in the voting booth. People weren't doing their homework ahead of time to vote quickly. And of course the Democrats and LSM want to twist this into some big bogus conspiracy.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Is that the story your reichwing screaming heads are feeding your mouthbreathers this week?
    =======

    It is called the truth but as we have seen over and over, leftists don't care about the truth, only their lies to further their cause. Try doing some research on your own for once, instead of reading your own propaganda?

    March 28, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Donna

    There's no conspiracy going on. Republican governors and legislators are making voter harder. Virginia just passed a tougher voter ID law last week. The purpose of this law is to suppress the minority vote plain and simple.

    March 28, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. HenryMiller

    They could make the lines shorter just by limiting the vote to people who have at least graduated from high school, have an actual income and don't depend on government hand-outs, and can pass a little five-question test, printed right on the ballots, about the issues and candidates they're voting on.

    March 28, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. Guest

    The dumocratic spin as usual. Fact is, Florida had a long ballot which is great on one hand – they want the peoples input but it created long lines and wait times. Damned if you do, damned if you dont! That said, do we need another obama commission to waste more resources? Hell no.

    March 28, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Well, Gosh,
    As much as some of you want to make some political point it is democracy in action. Practically every County/Parrish in the country has an elected Election Commision that is charged with these things. You want a Ballot loaded up with things that is democracy. True there are really stupid things put on ballots for the populus to decide. It is the worst system on the planet except for every other system. Geronimo !!

    March 28, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    just sayin' wrote:

    so now the federal government is going to start dictating to the states how to run their elections? of course, anything goes except voter id right? heaven forbid we actually protect the integrity of the election. just push as many people, legitimate or not, through the voting booth. maybe the democrats will suggest pre-filled out ballots for their supporters since most of them are illiterate?
    ----------------------------
    If an election for a state wide office were held, all districts throughout the state would have identical voting hours. People would be upset if some districts had longer hours than others. It wouldn't be fair to those in the shorter districts. Yet, that is exactly the situation that we have when it comes to general elections.

    By the way, presidential elections are sanctioned by the presidential election commission, and and conducted by the states.

    March 28, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Donna

    Rudy NYC
    Psst. The ballot was 12 pages long. Furhermore, it was written by the Republicans running the state of Florida.
    -–

    Psst... there were ELEVEN ballot initiatives on the ballot. Are you suggesting that they not be allowed on the ballot? No matter who was running the state they would have had to be there is they meet the criteria to make it onto the ballot.
    -------------
    Psst. Learn how to read. I said that it was around 12 PAGES long, not 12 ballot INITIATIVES.

    March 28, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. PJ

    @Donna, et al:
    ---–
    You are losing every argument you make, but I will give you this one:
    Someone said "In America you have the right to be stupid". Glad you are taking full advantage of this right,
    considering you think all your "rights" are in danger.
    Thanks for all the laughs.

    March 28, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. Wilbert Lee

    Perhaps the lines would be shorter if dumocrats were only allowed to vote once!

    March 28, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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