President Obama promotes voting rights changes

President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama.

By Carmen Glover

The long lines that voters experienced during the last presidential election resulted in many voters in Florida and other states still being on-line when President Obama took the stage to give his acceptance speech.

In several states across the nation, particularly in Southern states where most of the governors are Republicans, early voting and Sunday voting were eliminated. Also, voting centers were closed earlier than they had been in the past, and new voter identification laws all contributed to utter chaos, long lines and a prevailing sense of anger, hopelessness and despair because voters felt that they were being denied their hard-fought rights to vote.

While delivering his inaugural speech, President Obama said of the voting laws and long lines “We have to do something about that.” Yesterday, he did. Shortly after he was re-elected, Obama created a bipartisan commission to probe the reasons for the long lines at the polls and recommend measures to fix them.  Yesterday, the commission revealed that 5 million people were on-line for more than an hour, waiting to vote, in the 2012, 2008 and 2004 presidential elections. Also, the commission’s results indicated that Black, Hispanic and poor voters experienced longer lines and waiting times than other groups when they tried to vote.

“No American should have to wait more than half an hour to vote,” Obama stated yesterday in response the commission’s findings, “We could have even more problems in the future if we don’t act now.” The commission also revealed that numerous voting machines are obsolete and the various counties lack the federal funds to purchase new ones. The issue with the voting machines presented an “impending crisis in voting technology,’ the commission revealed.

By issuing its findings the commission has made strides in addressing the serious matter of voter disenfranchisement caused by a range of issues such as the long lines, inferior machines and restrictive voting laws. By speaking out about the findings, the President has drawn attention to the issue, so that it can be resolved before the midterm elections later this year. This comes not a moment too

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