Chaos, Disinformation and Glitches Plague Key States -- Our Broken Election System in Action
Pennsylvania voters—particularly in the Democratic strongholds around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh—are facing numerous headaches trying to vote, as many voters are finding that registration records are not up-to-date and poll workers are confused over the state’s strict new GOP-sponsored voter ID law, which won’t take affect until 2013.
A spokesman for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which runs the nationwide election protection hotline, said that there had been a surge of calls from the swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania as of mid-afternoon Tuesday.
Perhaps most disturbing, according to Lawyers Committee Spokesman Dan Dupont, were telephone calls being made to elderly Virgina voters telling them they did not have to go out to vote at the polls, but could tell the caller who they wanted to vote for instead.
“There’s lots of reports of deceptive practices,” he said.
The Pennsylvania calls mostly fall into two categories. AlterNet reviewed more than 500 incident reports between 2 PM and 5 PM EST. The first category were by voters whose names were not in pollbooks or registration records but said that they had registered.
The second category concerned poll workers who were mistakenly demanding photo IDs from voters, which is what Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law requires. Even though litigation postponed that law from taking effect until next year, many poll workers apparently are unaware of that—causing tension with voters and hotline calls.
What follows are excerpts from the Election Protection incident reports.
Voter ID Problems
• Philadelphia, PA: “Poll worker insisted on PHOTO ID, would not accept state voter ID.”
• Philadelphia, PA: “Polling place turning people away because they do not have IDS.”
• Sharon Hill, PA: “Polling location in Sharon Hill, Delaware County have "ID REQUIRED" in the voting book for a voter who is NOT a first time voter nor a first time voter in the precinct.”
• Union City, PA: “We just got a call from a voter who went to vote in Erie County, Union City and was denied the opportunity to vote because he did not show ID. He said he has voted at that polling place before and his name was in the book.”
• Shipenville, PA: “There were signs posted at her polling place telling everyone they are required to show id.”
• Carlisle, PA: “Voter was asked for identification at polling place in Carlisle, PA. The Pennsylvania law requiring identification was blocked for the general election. The polling place is the Carlisle Alliance Church.”
• Pittsburgh, PA: “Poll workers are asking for IDs but no one has been turned away. There was a democratic committeeman outside the polling place explaining the real ID requirements to voters.”
• Baden, PA: “Insisting that every voter should show voter ID, intimidating voters, and causing voters to leave.”
• Doylestown, PA: “Wife and I went into polling place and repeatedly asked for photo IDs. They proceeded to ask everyone for photo ID and were questioning those whose photos did not seem to match the individuals. Complained about intimidation. Voter IDS were REQUIRED to vote at this polling site.”
• Philadelphia, PA: “At least a 90 minute wait. Needs another machine for next time.”
• Philadelphia PA: “Because of the addition of a voting division (11), this polling place is experiencing intolerably long lines (three hours). Adding to the problem is that many of the voters are residents of this nursing home, who are in wheelchairs or are otherwise disabled.”