Senator Coons and others filed this bill last November, after we saw one more US election marked with long lines to vote, registration questions and issues and other problems that got in the way of very many Americans to exercise their franchise. He has reintroduced this bill, with Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to help states to improve their election capabilities and make it easier for Americans to vote. From the website:
This bill authorizes a federal program that would award grants based on how well applicant states are able to improve access to the polls in at least nine specified ways, including:
- Providing flexible registration opportunities, including same-day registration;
- Providing early voting, at a minimum of 9 of the 10 calendar days preceding an election;
- Providing absentee voting, including no-excuse absentee voting;
- Providing assistance to voters who do not speak English as a primary language;
- Providing assistance to voters with disabilities, including visual impairment;
- Providing effective access to voting for members of the armed services;
- Providing formal training of election officials, including State and county administrators and volunteers;
- Auditing and reducing waiting times at polling stations; and
- Creating contingency plans for voting in the event of a natural or other disaster.
There’s video of Senator Coons’ floor speech reintroducing this bill and calling for his colleagues to help states’ get their voting houses in order:
I’m a fan of all of these measures, but it strikes me that the Republican states have a vested interest in a broken voting system so I wonder how far this will get.