I was already skeptical that the libertarian movement would make a sincere effort to win support in big cities, even with the potential to tap into anti-nanny-state attitudes. Now Reason.com, the leading media outlet for libertarians, offers more proof that they're too scared of the urban vote to try winning some of it.
On Reason's Hit & Run blog, John J. Walters ponders the reports of people waiting in line for hours to vote in urban areas last November, with more than 200,000 in Florida giving up and going home. The extension of early voting times, such as on the weekend before Election Day, seems to be the more direct solution to this problem, but Walters dismisses that idea because "fewer than 25 percent of voters chose to vote early in 2012." (In Florida, 53 percent voted early!) Walters instead argues, "The focus of reform should be on making Election Day—and early voting—more efficient, not dragging it out."
if we want to prevent people from turning away from polls in frustration, we need more transparency about waiting times. Ironically, Florida seems to be leading the charge on this by posting waiting times at polls online.
This innovation is worthless to people who have a limited window in which they can vote, a group disporportionately made up of lower-income blue-collar and service workers who can only get to the polls on the way to or from their jobs. I'm self-employed (so libertarians might mistakenly consider me an ally), and I can vote between rush hours, but nurses and data entry clerks and cashiers generally don't have that option. The chief effect of this "transparency" is to rub it in certain voters' faces that they'll have to wait hours to vote, unlike suburban and rural residents. The only way it would "prevent people from turning away from polls in frustration" would be if it prevented people from going out to vote at all.
Advantage: early voting periods.
Photo from the New York City Board of Elections.