Should Congress ensure wait times of under 30 minutes at polling locations?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill would ensure shorter lines at polling locations that regularly have wait times over 30 minutes. These longer wait times disproportionately affect communities of color. This bill requires states to have a written plan to avoid wait times over 30 minutes. If the wait time is longer, it requires states to provide monetary compensation, allocating $500 million to states. Sponsor: Rep. Nikema Williams (Democrat, Georgia, District 5)
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Opponents say

•      "This party-line push has never been about securing citizens’ rights. It’s about expanding politicians’ power." Source: Senator Mitch McConnell (Republican, Kentucky), Michigan Advance

•      "The question that you need to ask ... Why are voters standing in line that long?," he said. "It's because it's in Democratic-controlled counties. They need to do a better job of running their elections and moving people through the lines so that they're not standing out there so long. Voters should be furious that that's the case." Brian Kemp (Governor, Georgia),  Business Insider

Proponents say

•      "As we mark the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, we face the same struggle for voting rights as the freedom fighters who convened on the national mall in 1963 fighting for jobs and freedom. All of our rights and basic freedoms come from free and fair access to the ballot.  Every generation has an obligation to move our country one step forward. My legislative package takes a major step to ensuring everyone has free and fair access to the ballot. As Jim Crow 2.0 continues to rise across the country, we urgently need comprehensive national standards to protect voting rights for everyone—no matter your ZIP Code, no matter your bank account." Source: Representative Nikema Williams (Democrat, Georgia), Press Release

    "As we reflect on the March on Washington – and in our generation’s own crucial moment for justice – Congresswoman Nikema Williams is sounding the alarm with a powerful package that demands voters’ voices are heard. It’s a testament to our unwavering commitment to breaking barriers and amplifying voices – particularly those of Black communities and communities of color. From the robust Unhoused Voter Opportunity Through Elections (VOTE) Act to the dynamic People Over Long Lines (POLL) Act, these measures aren’t just about challenges but the keys to unlocking lasting change. Democracy should serve as a beacon of equal opportunity for every individual across our nation. This holds especially true for those historically disenfranchised – the Black and Brown communities who have flexed our political power and continue showing up to the polls through every effort to block our votes." Source: Hillary Holley (Executive Director, Care in Action), Press Release

•     "No one should be shut out of the democratic process just because they can’t spend hours waiting in lines to cast a ballot. Making voting accessible and convenient shouldn’t be a partisan issue. I have never heard Oregonians – Democrats or Republicans – tell me they long for the days where voting took longer. It’s time to pass the POLL act and put an end to unreasonable lines in every state." Source:  Representative Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon), Press Release