Warner, Coons introduce bill to make voting quicker, easier

Warner said some people in his home state had to wait in three-hour-long lines to vote last week.

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“It is remarkable that people had to wait for hours to vote,” Warner said on the Senate floor Thursday. “Voting shouldn’t be this much of a burden ... it’s a 21st century poll tax.”

Warner said there were nine suggestions the bill would make to states, but only listed three: no-excuse absentee voting; assistance to voters who don’t speak English as primary language; and auditing and reducing waiting time at polling stations.

Earlier in the day Coons released a statement saying voters waited too long to cast their ballots in several states and that Congress should do something about it.

“Long lines are a form of voter disenfranchisement, a polling place running out of ballots is a form of voter suppression, and making it harder for citizens to vote is a violation of voters’ civil rights,” Coons said. “This is the United States of America and the right to vote is in our DNA: we have to get this right. The FAST Voting Act is a creative way to jumpstart states’ election reform efforts and ensure that what happened last week doesn’t happen again.”

The bill would also encourage states to offer same-day registration, provide early voting for at least 10 days and assist voters with disabilities, among other things.