November 3, 2008
Long Lines Call for Reform
According to the Associated Press, there were 27 million absentee and early votes in 30 states. For weeks, these early voters have encountered long lines at their precincts, such as the one seen in this photo posted by my friend Jack who voted on the Sunday before elections:
"In North Carolina, more than 2.3 million people -- or about 38 percent of registered voters there -- had voted by Friday, according to CNN affiliate WRAL."
But long lines weren't just in southern and battle ground states. My conservative home state Oklahoma also reported long lines:
"It seems like every big election we have an outpouring of new voters, but this is the most," Carter County elections secretary Helen McReynolds said in a First 12 News Report
My facebook friend Calvin Reese snapped the photo below of the early voters in Oklahoma:
This enormous turnout before tomorrow's mass exodus to the polls bring to light an important question: are our polling places equipped to handle massive numbers of voters at the polls? Some people might see the long lines and think they're encouraging signs of democracy. But other folks, who can only vote during lunch breaks or are eagerly trying to handle family obligations, might be turned off by long lines.
Kieran McCarthy, who was filling out his ballot while sitting on a lawn nearby a ballot drop box in Denver, Colorado, told KUSA that he thought that "the early voting in Colorado really helps."
McCarthy added, "I think it's hard for a lot of people to take a day off work or get in line where you might be there half a day," McCarthy told KUSA."
Earlier this year the organization Why Tuesday began asking why elections are always held on Tuesdays. Why can't we hold elections on weekends or allow for week-long voting? So far, early voting has been the most common compromise. Currently, 32 states allow no-excuse, pre-election day in-person voting.
After this historical election, it's time to encourage a serious revision of our voting and elections law.