President Obama wasn’t kidding around when he condemned long lines at the polls in his victory speech, according to a new survey of voters.
“I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time,” he said. “By the way, we have to fix that.”
Voters across the country complained about long waits in states around the country, as long as seven hours in quadrenially troubled Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott dramatically reduced early voting days despite similar issues in 2008.
If Democrats think measures like Scott’s in Republican-controlled states depress their vote specifically, they may be onto something. A Hart Research study sponsored by the AFL-CIO found wait times were disproportionately longer for Democrats and Democratic-leaning demographics by huge magins in 2012. For example, 16 percent of Obama voters reporter lines longer than 30 minutes, versus just 9 percent of Romney voters.
The AFL-CIO study tracked with similar findings in other recent elections. An MIT survey of 10,000 voters in 2008 found that waits for African Americans were more than twice as long as those for white voters for both early and election day voting.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.