11/02/2012 12:48 pm ET Updated Jan 02, 2013

Protecting the Right to Vote: A Timely Proposal About Time

Long lines leading to long waits at polling places discourage many eligible voters from casting a ballot. At a time when voter suppression laws are being proposed in many states and enacted in some, it is reasonable to assume that these long lines are not always accidents or just the result of inexperienced or incompetent election officials. Here is a surefire proposal to eliminate the long lines and enable voters to quickly cast their ballots and get on with their day.

In any municipality where any voter must wait for more than one hour, each vote in that district for the opposing party of the local mayor will count double. If the mayor and governor of the state are of the same party, such votes would count triple. And if the President makes it a political troika, those votes are quadrupled.

This would not preclude other efforts to democratize elections such as same day registration, declaring election-day a national holiday, or perhaps even making voting a legal obligation as is the case in at least ten countries including Australia, Brazil, and Luxembourg among others. It would assure voters that they will not spend hours just to exercise the right to vote. Consequently, more people would get to the polls and then home for dinner with their families.

Gregory D. Squires is a professor of sociology and public policy and public administration at George Washington University