The Bipartisan Policy Center, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Election Science + Data Lab, has conducted the only systematic election line studies at polling places. The 2018 election report showed how low-income and minority communities are disproportionately affected by long lines.
Last night’s Super Tuesday contests were marred by reports of voters waiting for several hours in multiple states to cast their votes in primary contests.
The following is a statement from Matthew Weil, director of BPC’s Elections Project:
“The lines yesterday are very concerning. We expected that the rollout of new voting systems and new policies could slow the process, but wait times longer than three hours indicate that jurisdictions will need to reconsider their polling place operations before November to avoid a repeat.
“Our study of the 2018 midterm election showed that long wait times are more likely to occur in precincts with high minority populations, more renters, and voters with lower incomes.
“There was some reporting about lines caused by the decrease in neighborhood polling places and an increase in the number vote centers where any voter in the jurisdiction can participate. There could be some truth in that, but these sites hold a lot of promise, and we shouldn’t be too quick to write them off. We must get the allocation of vote centers right and do better at messaging the options to voters.”
Matt Weil is available for comment.
Read the 2016 Election Lines Report
Read the 2018 Election Lines Report
Watch the video on Improving the Voter Experience