Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Monday, November 3
 
Looking for Lines ...
Where can we expect long lines on Election Day? Given the large number of newly registered voters and the intense interest in this year's election, you may not have to look far.

If I had to guess, I'd put Virginia and Pennsylvania at the top of my list of states where polling places may be overwhelmed. That's not only because both are key swing states in the presidential race, but also because they're both states in which an excuse is required to vote early or absentee. (See this chart from the Early Voting Information Center for a summary of all states' absentee and early voting laws.) In other swing states like Colorado, Florida, and Ohio, voters have made extensive use of early and absentee voting, which may take some of the pressure off the polls on Election Day.

One would expect to see lines in both Virginia and Pennsylvania, given that they don't have no-excuse early and absentee voting. That's why the Virginia NAACP is signaling that it may go back to court if lines are long, after having been denied an injunction today. And it's why the Governor of Pennsylvania and Mayor of Philadelphia are urging people to vote between 9 am and 3 pm when turnout is expected to be lighter.

One of the things we'll be monitoring at Election Central tomorrow is whether the anticipated lines in fact materialize in these or other states. If so, we'll be on the lookout for potential or actual litigation that may follow. If you encounter lines or other problems, you can report them to the nonpartisan election protection coalition at 866-OUR-VOTE or to CNN's Voter Hotline, which is logging different categories of complaints. The information there isn't exactly scientific, but may give us a sense of where the hotspots are.

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Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University