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The first step to fixing long lines at the polls? Knowing where they happen.

The Washington Post

Friday, November 11, 2016

Horror stories about people standing in long lines to vote started even before Election Day this year, with reports of massive waits at early-voting locations.

But new technology and research could help give officials the information they need to figure out how to make elections run better next time and one day help them respond to problems at polling places as they happen.

There’s remarkably little detailed data about how long Americans wait to vote, according to electoral experts. They say that’s a big problem because fixing long lines at the polls is practically impossible without knowing where they actually happen. Previous research has generally shown longer waits in urban areas and for minority voters. But much of that data comes from media reports or surveys, according to John Fortier, the director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Democracy Project.

“Even administrators that run large counties often don’t have a handle on what’s going on at all at their polling places,” he said. In fact, many precincts do not have systems to track long lines, let alone prevent them, Fortier and other election watchers said.

KEYWORDS: JOHN FORTIER, 2016