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Mark Warner talks about election reform, Fast Voting Act

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Who could forget the recent election, with scenes of people waiting in extremely long lines at the polls.

Now, that the Election frenzy is over.  One lawmaker on Capitol Hill wants you to know how he plans to make the election process better.

“The 21st century in the greatest of democracy in the world…voting shouldn’t be this much of a burden.” 

Thursday, U-S Senator Mark Warner introduced legislation called the Fast Voting Act, in hopes to tackle voting problems at the polls in a more responsible way.

“What we have in effect have created is a 21st century poll tax,” said US Mark Warner.

Senator Warner labels it as a tax because the election process requires working people to miss too much time from work.

Warner wants give grants to states like Virginia, if they invest in better technology and provide more resources that will help speed up voting and simplify voter registration. 

This bill authorizes a federal program that would award grants based on how well applicant states are able to improve access to the polls in at least nine specific ways, including:

· Providing flexible registration opportunities, including same-day registration;
· Providing early voting, at a minimum of 9 of the 10 calendar days preceding an election;
· Providing absentee voting, including no-excuse absentee voting;
· Providing assistance to voters who do not speak English as a primary language;
· Providing assistance to voters with disabilities, including visual impairment;
· Providing effective access to voting for members of the armed services;
· Providing formal training of election officials, including State and county administrators and volunteers;
· Auditing and reducing waiting times at polling stations; and
· Creating contingency plans for voting in the event of a natural or other disaster.
· The program also requires the establishment of performance measures and reporting requirements to ensure a state’s progress in eliminating statutory, regulatory, procedural and other barriers to expedited voting and accessible voter registration.
We turned to Richmond voters to get their take.

“Any kind of action that would impede anybody’s ability to vote needs to be redacted.  We need to have higher turnout.  We need to make it easier for everyone,” said Meg Shea.

But not everyone agrees.

“I don’t think they should rush the process.  It takes time to get everything done.  You want to make sure that everything is sufficient,” said Vance Greene.

CBS 6 Political analyst Bob Holsworth believes the proposed legislation will help every voter by not having them wait in long lines. 

On the other hand, Holsworth says it would be very appealing to Democratic Party activists.  And Holsworth says Senator Warner could be setting himself up for a Presidential run.

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