Republicans, Democrats Have Different Ideas about Voting Reform

Mar 15, 2017

Congressman Gerry Connolly, seen here at an election party last November, believes the voting process is broken.
Credit Steve Helber / AP

Do election officials have the equipment they need to prevent voters waiting in line for hours on end? One Virginia congressman says no, and he has a plan to fix it. But as Michael Pope reports, that plan may be headed for the same gridlock that confronts other changes to voting systems.

Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly says voting in America is underfunded and broken. He saw it firsthand back in 2012, when one of the precincts in his district had a three hour wait to vote. That’s why he wants to invest money to buy modern voting equipment and encourage early voting. The response from Republicans? 

“Dead silence, and it is a shame because unfortunately the party of Lincoln is now the party of voter suppression.”

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says Democrats usually look at increasing participation as a way to benefit themselves politically while Republicans usually look at restricting participation as a way to help their party at the polls.

“That myth is really creating barriers to modernizing what is an essential part of our process. We need to have effective mechanisms for determine who is a voter and we need effective mechanisms for allowing them to participate.”

Just this week, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed two Republican bills on election reform, one that would require a photo ID for requesting absentee ballots and another that would require the Department of Elections to provide a list of voters who may have moved.