With Election Day right around the corner and election officials expecting an unprecedented, record turnout, worry is building over all the possible problems that could erupt on voting day. Accounts of long lines, complaints of poorly managed polling places and scattered reports of malfunctioning voting machines could all create problems on Super Tuesday. Here is a roundup of the voting problems around the nation that the CBS News I-Unit is watching.
- CBS News reports that in Ohio wait times in this key battleground state have been as long as 4-6 hours in some locations.
- Florida continues to have long lines, resulting in short tempers in municipalities where only a minimum number of polling stations are open.
- In New Jersey, the state registration database is operating too slowly to update with the names of recent registrants, according to Election Protection, a nonpartisan voting coalition.
- In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, voters have complained to the Election Protection hotline about receiving robocalls telling them that Election Day is November 5th.
- There were reports over the weekend of more dirty tricks in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Nevada. In Virginia, more bogus fliers with an authentic-looking commonwealth seal were passed out. The CBS News Investigative Unit called various voting rights groups in VA. We were told they are less concerned about these "dirty tricks" because the electorate is so well informed.
- In Pennsylvania, emails appeared to link Democrat Barack Obama to the Holocaust. Others fliers claimed Obama was more sympathetic to Palestinians than to Israel, and showed a photo of him speaking in Germany. Also in Pennsylvania, leaflets taped to picnic benches at Drexel University in Philadelphia warned students that police would be at the polls on Tuesday to arrest would-be voters with prior criminal offenses.
- The Huffington Post reports that the NAACP is seeking to secure a temporary injunction today to force Virginia to have paper ballots available for people who are unable to wait in long lines for electronic voting machines. Later in the day, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit seeking paper ballots when lines were too long but ordered the state to publicize "curbside voting,'' for those who have difficulty walking or standing for long periods. The judge also ruled that if voters are in line by 7 p.m., they are to be permitted to vote.
- The Brennan Center for Justice reports that Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Colorado will have the highest number of provisional ballots cast and provisional ballot problems. In 2004, Maine counted 100 percent of their provisional ballots because under their guidelines voters are permitted to resolve problems at the polls. Montana was at 95.1 percent for the same reason in 2004. Provisional ballots are cast by voters whose eligibility must be confirmed later.
By Kim Lengle