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Democratic senators introduce bill to guarantee vote waiting times of ‘less than 30 minutes’

Legislation would mandate "remedial plan" for jurisdictions with long waiting lines.

Updated: June 18, 2021 - 4:58pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Two Senate Democrats this week introduced a bill that, if passed, would seek to ensure that polling locations across the country keep voters waiting for no more than half an hour at a time.

The People Over Long Lines act, introduced by Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, would mandate that prior to any federal election states make public "written plan[s] describing the measures they are implementing to ensure equitable waiting times for all voters and specifically waiting times of less than 30 minutes at all polling places in the election," according to Wyden's website

The statute would permit the Election Assistance Commission to issue "remedial plans" to jurisdictions with long wait lines; those plans would "provide for the effective allocation of resources to administer elections and to reduce waiting times."

Wyden on his website claimed that long lines were a form of "voter suppression."

"No one should be shut out of the democratic process just because they can't spend hours waiting in lines to cast a ballot," he said.