Bill Nelson joins Barbara Boxer for electoral reform

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"I am pleased that Senator Nelson, whose Florida constituents faced the longest lines in the nation on Election Day, will help lead our effort to address this problem," said Senator Boxer in a statement.

Boxer also commended First Lady Michelle Obama for her special guest who will appear tonight at the State of the Union Address: Desiline Victor, a 102-year-old North Miami resident who waited in line for three hours to cast her ballot last year.

"Ms. Victor's inspiring resolve to cast her ballot despite this outrageous delay is a reminder of why every American must have an equal chance to vote," Boxer said.

What would the LINE Act do? Here's a description from Senator Boxer:

The LINE Act (or the Lines Interfere with National Elections Act) would require the Attorney General, in consultation with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), to issue new national standards by January 1, 2014 regarding the minimum number of voting machines, election workers, and other election resources that are necessary to conduct Federal elections on Election Day and during early voting periods. The bill explicitly states that the goal of minimum standards is to prevent a waiting time of more than one hour at any polling place.

The bill also would require states where voters endured long lines to implement remedial plans to fix the problems before the next federal election. Under the legislation, the Attorney General working with the EAC would identify states that had a substantial number of voters who waited more than 90 minutes to vote in the 2012 election. Those states would have to comply with a remedial plan to ensure voters would not face similar delays in the future.

Senator Nelson's anger at the changes in Florida's election laws was personal. Some observers thought the 2011 laws — which critics charged would lower the Democratic vote — would hurt his bid for re-election, but he easily dethroned Congressman Connie Mack last November.

Approximately a year ago, Nelson and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin hosted a special Senate hearing in Tampa regarding HB 1355, the electoral reform bill the Florida Legislature passed in 2011.

Ever since the state of Florida suffered another electoral breakdown last November, everyone in state government — from Gov. Rick Scott down to House Democrats — have talked about some sort of reform to ensure that such a debacle doesn't happen again.

Sure, we heard the same thing after the infamous 2000 recount election, but the remedies may not be that difficult — Secretary of State Ken Dentzer called last week to restore the amount of early voting days back up to 14 from eight, after the Legislature passed a law doing the exact opposite two years ago.

Various other lawmakers from both parties are also proposing certain voting reforms inside Florida.

On the national level, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson's office announced today that he's teaming up with California Democrat Barbara Boxer on the LINE Act — election reform legislation that would ensure no American voter has to wait longer than one hour to cast a ballot.

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