Election Law

Some Florida Voters Wait Till Past Midnight; Is Federal Law Needed?

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Long waits plagued voters in Florida and several other states on Tuesday, spurring one law professor to suggest a need for federal legislation.

Some Florida residents waited in line six hours or more to cast their ballots, the Miami Herald reports. One polling place stayed open until 1 a.m. to accommodate voters; others remained open until midnight. Any major post-election legal fight over the presidential election in Florida appears less likely, however, given President Obama’s win, the National Law Journal reports.

Slate searched Twitter with key words like “stood in line” and “waited” along with “to vote” and determined Florida was among the states with the longest waits. The Twitter results also showed long waits of about 90 minutes in Massachusetts, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. Virginia voters also reported long waits, Reuters reports.

President Obama remarked on the problem in his acceptance speech, according to the Election Law Blog. “I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time,” Obama said. “By the way, we have to fix that.”

Blog author Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California at Irvine, proposes a solution. “We are ready with ideas to fix that,” he writes, “and it should start with congressional legislation. Let’s put it on the agenda.”

Hasen recently discussed flaws in the election system, and his book on the issues, in an interview with ABAJournal.com.

Updated at 9:10 a.m. to include link to Hasen’s interview with ABA Journal.com.

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