Our View: We have to fix the voting process

DKS Editors

The most interesting line of President Barack Obama’s election night victory speech was one he probably ad-libbed.

“I want to thank every American who participated in this election,” he said, “whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time. By the way, we have to fix that.”

Yes, we do. In the days leading up to the election, the early voting line at the Portage County Administration Building often had a wait time exceeding an hour. That’s enough reason to be unhappy, but it pales in comparison to lines in Florida that took nine hours to get through.

No country as advanced and wealthy as ours should find that acceptable.

Congress has passed laws in the past to provide funding for updated voting machines. We can pressure them to do that again to assist precincts with an insufficient amount of booths.

We can also provide more funding for local election boards to hire more workers — and maybe pay them a little more, if that incentivizes more people to apply.

The federal Election Assistance Commission is supposed to have four commissioners overseeing the voting system. It currently has zero. Maybe Senate Republicans should stop blocking confirmation of the nominees so the agency can actually operate properly.

Also, early voting hours need to expand. The long lines in Ohio proved that Secretary of State Jon Husted’s decision to scale back early voting was ill-advised.

All of these things are completely reasonable and simple, compared to something more major like allowing online voting, which carries the risk of hacking.

Yes, it will cost money. But of all the things this country needs to fund adequately and ensure works properly, our democratic form of electing leaders is near the top of the list, if not at the very top.

Nobody should have to wait hours in line to vote, and nobody with the power to fix that should allow such an embarrassment to happen ever again.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.