December 15, 2012

The Dec. 12 news story “Holder issues call for voting reforms” highlighted the growing need for a more efficient election process.

As a Maryland voter and former poll worker in New York, I can attest to the ineffective voting process that leads to long wait times and discouraged voters. This year, I opted to take advantage of early in-person voting, which paid off — voting took me only 20 minutes. In 2008, I waited more than two hours. This raises the question: Why do only 32 states and the District offer the option of early voting?

Moreover, early voting is not widely publicized. I learned of this alternative only through a friend. The Charles County Board of Elections literature I received offered information on only the candidates, with no mention of early voting.

It should be mandatory for states to offer early voting, and the voting period should be extended. More voters would likely make it to the polls if wait times were improved and alternative voting options were available.

Julia A. Burgos, White Plains, Md.

The Center for Competitive Democracy supports The Post’s call for Congress to establish “more stringent national standards for national elections” as a means to address our all-too-chaotic electoral processes [“Repairing America’s elections,” editorial, Dec. 10]. Unfortunately, The Post focused on only half of the equation — voter access to the polls — while neglecting the other half — candidate access to the ballot.

Public support for more choices on the ballot continues to grow. Nevertheless, in each election cycle voters routinely must choose between only two major-party candidates. Worse, often a Republican or Democrat runs unopposed, giving voters no choice at all.

The remedy for this deficiency is simple: Congress should establish one reasonable ballot-access standard for all federal candidates. Until it does, unnecessarily restrictive and discriminatory state laws will continue to deny Americans meaningful choices on Election Day.

Oliver Hall, Washington

The writer is legal counsel for the Center for Competitive Democracy.