Despite a federal inquiry after the 2012 election that aimed to prevent long lines from impacting would-be voters across the country, people attempting to vote early are experiencing lines as long as a half-mile in some parts of the country.
Vox reported on some of these lines yesterday (November 6), emphasizing one in Cincinnati that stretched for a half-mile with nearly 4,000 people waiting to reach the booths. Elsewhere in Ohio, people were still waiting outside a polling center in Franklin County at 4 p.m.—after early voting was scheduled to end for the day. In North Carolina, the site of a voter suppression lawsuit by the NAACP, lines near North Carolina State University teemed with hundreds of people. Similar lines were reported in Las Vegas and Phoenix.
The Vox article laid the blame on inadequate and disproportionate provision of voting centers in areas with high demand. Some of those, like Cincinnati’s Hamilton County, had only one center to serve more than 800,000 people. Coupled with problems like registration cancellation and incorrect and outdated residence information—problems that the NAACP suit says disproportionately affect voters of color—these early voting issues could foreshadow bigger problems for tomorrow’s (November 8) general election voters.
An August report from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies examined 2012 election data and concluded that people of color were most affected by long wait times. On average, African Americans waited more than any other group at 23 minutes, while White people waited 12 minutes. The study suggests that long waits, which it tied to inadequate funding, can drastically impact election outcomes.