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Turnout High, but Some Polling Place Issues in Philadelphia

Some voters were not on precinct lists and got provisional ballots, which could cut into Obama's totals tonight.
 
 
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Election Day started with heavy turnout in Philadelphia, where polling places quickly saw lines build and the biggest problems were new voters whose names were not on precinct lists and electronic voting machines that did not not work at the day's start.

The voter registration issues appeared to be more widespread, as election protection officials from the Obama campaign and the non-partisan "Committee of 70," a local watch group, noted that many people who had received voter registration cards in the mail were not listed on their precinct voter rolls.

Calls by those election protection officials to the city's Board of Election revealed that those voters' names were on the city's central voter list, which should entitle them to vote with a regular ballot. However, the BOE's instructions to precinct judges, according to these poll watchers, was that anybody who was not on precinct lists should be given a provisional ballot. Those ballots must be verified after Election Day before being counted.

The impact of this voter list snafu -- explained by one ward committeeman as a paperwork backlog by election administrators in this Democrat-controlled city -- is hard to gauge. At several polling places, the estimate was that perhaps as much as 5 percent of the voters were receiving provisional ballots.