Connolly: Make It Easier for People to Vote

A northern Virginia congressman says new federal laws are needed to make it easier for people to vote in national elections without standing in long lines.

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th District), who won with 60 percent of the vote, said Tuesday’s delays were "inexcusable" and there should be same-day registration and early voting everywhere.

Thousands of voters can recite individual Election Day stories about long waits to vote in the national elections. Scenes like those in northern Virginia occurred all across the country.

“Believe me, after my own experience in my district in Virginia, looking at those long lines we talked about Kojo (Nnamdi), some of it was just inexcusable,” Connolly said on the WAMU Politics Hour Friday.

Connolly said the long lines are unfair to every voter, especially those with jobs, physical infirmities or family obligations. He said some worry too much about rare voter fraud rather than making voting easier.

“Let's change the ethos from we’re worried about someone but we can’t find them who actually might fraudulently cast a vote he’s not entitled to, I would have absolute early voting, no excuses required, for two or three weeks prior to an election,” Connolly said.

Virginia is the only local state or jurisdiction in the area that doesn't allow early voting -- just absentee balloting but only for specific reasons.

Connolly said he would support federal legislation to make federal Election Days uniform across the nation.

“And i would absolutely support creating some uniform federal standards that make it easier for people to exercise their sacred right to vote,” he said.

Connolly had no specific timetable on when any federal legislation would be proposed.

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