Social media lit up after Super Tuesday with photos of and interviews with folks who stood in line for hours to vote.
So much for being a “modern” democracy.
This really is insane: you should not have to wait in line to vote at all.
I don’t, nor do most folks in majority-white areas anywhere in the country.
Let’s do some quick math:
Say it takes 2 minutes to actually fill out your ballot (I usually take less than 30 seconds, since I fill out my printed sample ballot before I go in and just copy that onto the real ballot).
That means each voting booth can be used by 30 voters per hour.
There are 280k registered voters in my county, and 526 precincts; this gives 533 voters per precinct.
The polls are open for 12 hours, so each precinct needs to process 45 voters per hour.
This means that each precinct must have (under optimal conditions) 2 functioning voting booths.
That’s … not difficult to achieve.
My precinct usually has 5 booths set up.
That means my precinct is provisioned to handle up to 150 voters per hour, using the 2-minute estimate above.
Hell, let’s raise that to 5 minutes to add some leeway, bringing us to 12 voters per hour per booth.
That still means my precinct is configured to manage 60 voters per hour.
So that’s a tad over what its minimum would be.
That’s not bad given that most folks here vote by mail anyway, so kudos to my county for that; I hope they do as good a job in all the precincts they manage.
(A 2x buffer would be preferable, but the 5 minute/voter number is wildly generous, so the county’s doing a pretty good job of provisioning if my precinct is in any way representative of their work in general.)
So WTF is going on with 6 hour waits?
5 voting booths is literally just 5 tables and some privacy screens, plus a table and some chairs for the staff and a box to collect the ballots in.
There are a few signs taped to the walls, too.
But that’s pretty much it.
This is not complicated.
And it’s not expensive.
This is not, to use the technical lawyer lingo, a burden.
It would be completely reasonable for any court to rule that every precinct must meet at least this standard to be considered acceptable.