Increase voter participation

Lack of organization and poor planning in polling stations disproportionately affect voters in the armed forces, the disabled and those with limited English proficiency.

That was one of the conclusions drawn by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. The commission, chaired by one Democrat and one Republican, was created after the 2012 election.

The panel did not get involved with last election’s most controversial issues, in which several Republican-majority states passed laws requiring voter identification and implemented measures to discourage participation among certain groups. However, it supported initiatives that in fact contradict this restrictive voting trend.

The recommendations seek to expand participation through online voter registration and increase opportunities for voting with more days to go to the polls, voting by mail and better distribution of local resources.

In addition to the work of this panel, it is worth mentioning the efforts of Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner to repair the damage that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling caused to the Voting Rights Act. The bill establishes new criteria to prevent states from hindering voting with new restrictions.

These two efforts reflect the general concern with laws that block voter participation, which completely disregards false arguments of fraud that were used to enact new requirements during the latest election cycle.

It is unfortunate that at this point in the democratic process, politicians are still trying to win elections by preventing access to the polls for some voters, instead of seeking their support with valid arguments.

The commission’s proposals and the bill reflect bipartisan support to improve voter participation. The next step is to take action as soon as possible.