Pam FesslerPam Fessler is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where she covers poverty and philanthropy.
Voters waited in long lines in Birmingham, Ala., to cast their ballots in the 2008 presidential elections. But next year, the lines across the country may be longer as state election offices face budget cuts.
Michigan Department of Human Services caseworker Sandy Satchel works at the Family Independence Agency in Detroit. In the past few years, welfare caseloads have dropped 2 percent in Michigan while unemployment has risen 54 percent, a trend that's reflected in other states.