Attorney General Eric Holder said during a speech on Tuesday night at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library that it’s time to consider setting national standards for how elections should be handled.
“A recent study by the MacArthur Foundation found that nearly 90 percent of those who voted in last month’s election would support creating national voting standards,” Holder said, according to prepared remarks. “That’s why it is important for national leaders, academic experts, and members of the public to engage in a frank, thorough, and inclusive discussion about how our election systems can be made stronger and more accessible.”
But Holder stopped short of backing specific legislation, such as a bill recently proposed by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that would force local election officials to provide a minimum level of election resources. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler told TPM on Tuesday that Holder was simply suggesting national standards were “worth consideration.”
Election officials across the county should “be striving to administer elections more efficiently and more fairly,” Holder said, according to the remarks.
“This means taking steps to address long lines at polling places — and ensuring that every polling place has an adequate number of voting machines,” Holder said. “We must acknowledge that giving our fellow citizens access to the voting booth for longer hours and over additional days will enable more of them to cast their ballots without unduly interfering with the work or family obligations that so many have.”
Holder also said that the “ordinary citizens who, just last month, endured long lines, biting temperatures, and blazing sun to make certain that their votes would be counted” were continuing the legacy of Americans who have fought for the right to vote.