Florida has Longest Wait Times for Voting; Alaska the Shortest, but Results Come Slowly

Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Voters wait in line at a Florida precinct in 2012 (photo: Alan Diaz, AP)

If voters want to spend as little time possible in line waiting to cast ballots, Alaska is the place to live, not Florida.


A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows Floridians had the longest average wait time in the nation at polling places: 34 minutes. Using results from the 2012 election, GAO auditors found reductions in early voting and lengthy ballots caused longer lines at Florida precincts. About 16% of voters had to wait more than an hour, according to the report (pdf).


Alaska residents, however, rarely had to worry about cooling their heels while waiting to vote. Their average time before entering the voting booth was only 1.4 minutes. Their state’s delays come on the other end of the process—getting the votes counted.


After all, Alaska is largely rural with communities spread out. Getting ballot boxes from local precincts to election headquarters in Juneau means flying or shipping the results in, due to the capital being inaccessible by car, Roll Call reported.


The GAO study says the average wait time to vote nationwide ranged between five and 20 minutes in 2012. The three states with the longest waits after Florida were Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina, averaging 25 or more minutes each.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Observations on Wait Times for Voters on Election Day 2012 (Government Accountability Office) (pdf)

Report: Fla. Voters had Country’s Longest Waits to Cast Ballots (by Chris Adams, McClatchy)

Why Vote Counting in Alaska Takes a Long Time (by Kyle Trygstad and Humberto Sanchez, Roll Call)

Studies Show Minorities and Democrats had to Wait in Line Longer to Vote in 2012 (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Limiting Voters in Florida…Long Lines and Signatures of Stroke Victims (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Leave a comment