How Boxer's Bill Could Shrink Voting Lines

Dec 7, 2012

DIFFERING BY DEGREE: Gov. Scott thinks four hours is an acceptable wait in a voting line, Sen. Boxer says one.

A prominent Senate Democrat is trying to federalize election rules in a way that would make it illegal to force voters to wait more than an hour to vote.

U. S. Sen. Barbara Boxer filed her bill -- called the LINE Act -- on Thursday. If it passes, states would have to come into compliance before the next federal election. That would involve applying formulas that determine how many voting machines and poll workers have to be available for the expected number of voters.

The "LINE" part of Boxers bill stands for "Lines Interfere With National Elections."

Boxer's bill puts her on a page with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, but only in principle.

The senator and the governor agree there's a limit on how long voters should have to wait to cast ballot. Boxer's limit is one hour, Scott's is four.

Some voters in Miami-Dade and other Florida counties had to wait as long as eight hours to vote on Nov. 6.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who is Florida's chief elections officer, will visit Miami-Dade, Broward and three other southern Florida counties next week to see what went wrong on election day and which counties, in spite of it all, got it right.