Waiting For Democracy

As the polls grind to a close, various images linger from the humorous of a surfer voting in California fresh from the beach with his board to the inspiring of a woman in labor insisting on voting before going to the hospital. However, one image remains consistent across the country: absurdly long line. Despite scandals from 2008 of people waiting for hours to vote, election officials have again produced endless lines by failing to produce adequate voting machines for the expected vote in many areas. My voting place in McLean was wonderful – enough machines and short lines. However, I have heard nightmare stories from others around the region including over three hour waits in Maryland.

I helped cover the last election in 2008 for CBS and recall discussing the lines in Ohio where people literally passed out waiting to vote. My students reported waiting for as long as three hours in Virginia. One student from New York applied for an absentee ballot almost two months ago and never received it. From New Jersey to Florida to Ohio, people are legitimately irate that after many billions of dollars in federal funds, states continue to fail to consistently offer sufficient resources for citizens across the country. We should have a consistent benchmark standard that voters should be able to get in line and vote within 30 minutes.

The lack of resources comes with suspicions of a planned failure. In Ohio in 2004, we were struck by the consistently long lines in Democratic and minority areas. We pressed the Kerry campaign whether it would challenge the pattern across the state. At first, the campaign indicated that it would but then Kerry himself threw in the towel. Now, four years later (and 12 years after the Florida disaster) we are again left astonished by the lines – forcing voters to wait for hours despite work and family obligations. Nevertheless, politicians continue to express contempt for the relatively low percentages of people voting while repeatedly failing to meet this very basic function of a democracy. Once again, billions evaporated into the pockets of lobbyists and contractors while the lines again appear around the country.

This evening on national news two stories were shown by NBC News. If you turned off the sound, it would seem that the network repeated the story. It showed endless lines of tired people. However, the first story was a line of voters at a typical voting place while the second story was a line of hurricane victims. After the debacles in 2000 and 2008, we are still faced with chaotic polling places with lines stretching for blocks. It is not just an insult to our citizens but a recurring embarrassment for the world’s leading democracy.

Jonathan Turley

141 thoughts on “Waiting For Democracy”

  1. Happy Dogs Are here again…
    Ohhh, Happy Dogs are here again
    Happy Dogs are here again!

  2. Well.

    I’ve had enough excitement for the day. A nice hot shower and I hear the seductive siren call of Orpheus.

    Good night and good luck, Blog Peoples. See ya’ll around the funny papers.

  3. Yesterday I printed out the HuffPost election map and did my own calculations. I gave Obama 26 states and 303 electoral votes. I gave him all of the swing states except North Carolina and Florida, my own state. It increasingly appears that I underestimated his popularity in Florida. The president is benefitting from the increase in the number of non-Cuban Hispanics. He may end with 332 electoral vbotes.

  4. the last 12 year felt like that to me…..they forget where we were before the Bush years……and how we got to where we are now.

  5. Michelle Bachman is on the brink of losing. ,,,, the same with Allen West.

  6. Romney was speaking and I kept hearing this music so I go to the pantry and open the backdoor and see my neighbor with his bugle.

  7. What a hoot! My neighbor, a true/blue teabagger, is playing TAPS in his back yard.

  8. We might not have to sacrifice bodies to get major change.
    We said no to religius takeover, to opposers to women’s’ rightt, to immigration haters, to the big money TV and robocall ads, to so much crap they tried to sell us.

    Maube Americans can get it together.

    Now Romnewy is on his way.

  9. “Mitt Romney said earlier today that he had only written a victory speech. So right now he’s probably doing some pretty fast writing, because the networks have called the election for Obama.

    It will be interesting to see if Romney manages to take both sides of the issue one last time by declaring victory and defeat simultaneously. The results only confirm what we’ve been saying about Mitt’s chances all along.

    Best reaction of the night: Jessica Pressler from New York Magazine who tweeted, “Man I feel really sorry for Mitt Romney that he can’t drink tonight.””


  10. Bloiuse, They will have to quit bashing hispanics in their primaries. Romney will speak in 8 minutes.

  11. Senate only has 3 seats left, two of which are trending hard D, so the Senate will be 55 D and 45 R.

Comments are closed.