Backlash from both parties to Obama’s proposed voting commission

Updated
People cast their ballots for the U.S. presidential election.
People cast their ballots for the U.S. presidential election.
Jewel Samad / AFP

Opposition is growing on both sides to President Obama’s proposed voting commission. The plan is aimed at making voting easier. But critics on the right say it’s an overreach by the federal government. And critics on the left, including the League of Women Voters, say the proposed commission does not go far enough.

“It’s not only not bold, but this is a way of kicking the can down the road once again on election reform,” said Elisabeth Macnamara, national president of the League of Women Voters on Jansing & Co. Friday.

The president announced the commission Tuesday night during the State of the Union and said it would be led by Bob Bauer, President Obama’s former White House counsel, and top Republican lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg who helped lead the 2000 recount efforts in Florida. The commission partnership comes after both Bauer and Ginsberg were pitted against one another in legal quarrels during the 2012 presidential elections when they represented President Obama and Mitt Romney respectively over voting laws.

“When any Americans, no matter where they live or what their party, are denied that right simply because they can’t wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals,” the president said.

According to a New York Times report of an MIT analysis of voting wait times, Democrats and Independents on average waited about 20% longer than Republicans in 2012.

“We completely agree with the president on his statements,” said Macnamara. “Our disappointment is the president chose to address this with a commission, rather than taking action now and calling for action now.”

Backlash from both parties to Obama's proposed voting commission

Updated