Congress could have a uniform poll closing bill on the president's desk by Easter if the Senate would take an interest in countering what has become routine early network projections in presidential elections, Rep. Al Swift, D-Wash., said Thursday.
Swift, who has lobbied for a single poll closing time for eight years, said television network projections of the winner before the polls close on the West Coast interfers with the electoral process.The three networks, CBS, NBC and ABC, projected Vice President George Bush the winner of the Nov. 8 election over Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis before the polls closed in the West at 8 p.m. PST. Two of the networks projected the winner more than 90 minutes before the voting was over in the West.
Swift's uniform poll closing bill passed the House but was stuck in the Senate, reportedly because a Kentucky senator did not want to change his state's 6 p.m. closing time.
"I think the Senate has simply not paid as much attention to this as the House has," Swift said on NBC's "Today" show. "If we can get the U.S. Senate to take up this legislation, I think we've got a chance to have this problem solved."