By Karen Shanton and Wendy Underhill
When any Americans–no matter where they live or what their party–are denied [the right to vote] simply because they can't wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals… We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it. And so does our democracy.
The article makes a couple of points that should be part of any upcoming discussion of election administration:
Long lines are neither a universal challenge nor the only issue in elections. Many jurisdictions did not have problems with long lines in November. Some faced different challenges. Focusing too narrowly on lines could obscure other obstacles to – and opportunities for – improving election performance.
Election administration is local. The U.S. Constitution assigns responsibility for establishing election procedures and administering elections to the states. The federal government can play a role in setting standards and issuing recommendations, but the primary decision-makers on election law are state lawmakers.
These points suggest that the most effective strategies for bolstering election performance will be tailored to states. For this reason, state-specific election administration data, such as The Pew Center on the States' new Elections Performance Index and the Voting Technology Project's Survey of the Performance of American Elections, may be the best starting point for states that are interested in improving election administration.