CommunityPam's House Blend

Getting out and protecting the vote

[I’m in DC now.]

[UPDATE: Blender Paul passed on “irregularities” in Daggett County, Utah and a GOP ad “emergency broadcast” error in California below…]

Russ ably posted about the “glitches” experienced at the polls (both in early voting and today) that threaten to “miscount” or deep-six votes. Imagine how many votes today are going to disappear (or, if you saw Hacking Democracy, materialize via Diebold chip).

High-tech monkey-business with votes is not the only factor that will affect outcomes today, how about simple issues that affect the vote — arriving to find out you’re not registered or have been stricken from the rolls, or, as what happened in my town (Durham, NC), voters came to the polls in the AM only to find them closed. (Facing South):

With precincts being staffed by volunteers, often elderly, many voters flock to the polls before work only to find the buildings aren’t open. Research shows that these turned-away morning voters, juggling hectic schedules, often don’t make it back to vote. In 2000 and 2004, horror stories flooded in across the country of precincts that opened hours late, but didn’t offer any alternatives to time-strapped voters.

Durham County, North Carolina showed a better way this morning: when one poll opened an hour late, county election director Mike Ashe declared that results for the entire county would be delayed an hour, while Precinct No. 23 at The River Church remained open an hour after the rest of the polls closed, to accommodate those turned away in the morning.

To get a sense of how many votes could have been lost, over 100 voters — at just one precinct out of 56 in Durham County — were waiting at the doors of the locked church, which was supposed to have opened at 6:30 a.m. Who knows how many gave up and left.

Sue Sturgis of Facing South had a good post up yesterday about the measures being taken by the Election Protection (a collaboration of the NAACP, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and People for the American Way) to field questions and monitor the shenanigans at the polls today.

The coalition also has a hotline, staffed by actual people, not canned messages, trained to provide state-specific assistance to voters with questions or concerns:

Call center operators will inform voters and solve problems on issues such as voter identification requirements, voting machine malfunctions, problems at the polling place, and voter intimidation. National call centers will be located in Washington, New York, Baltimore, and San Francisco. Local call centers will be hosted in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Minnesota.

While the toll-free hotline will be available to voters nationwide, EP’s ground operations will be concentrated in precincts most at risk for disenfranchisement, including low-income communities, African American and Latino communities, and areas with a history of voting irregularities. The coalition will operate in Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Michigan, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Minnesota.

The number to call:

1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)

Malfunctions, “glitches” and any hindrances to voting are being compiled in an Election Incident Reporting System database. Lawyers will track the issues in real time and the information gathered will support the coalition’s efforts to file lawsuits across the country as necessary in order to protect voter rights.

Learn more here.

Have you seen or heard of any trouble with access or the voting process in your precincts?

***

UPDATES

From Paul, these two gems…

Signal snafu broadcasts political ad.

Northern California radio stations got something extra Monday with the monthly emergency alert system test transmitted by fellow station KFBK _ and at least one of them was none too happy about it.

The test, complete with raspy alarm and tone, didn’t end with the familiar words, “This concludes the test of the Emergency Alert System…”

Instead, it segued into a political advertisement by former state Sen. Dick Mountjoy, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Dianne Feinstein, and another spot for a mortgage company.

And how about a strange growth in population in Daggett County, Utah:

Daggett County has registered 947 voters for Tuesday’s election. According to the most recent Census figures, that’s four more than the county’s population in 2005.

A spokesman for Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says complaints of vote-stuffing in the county are being investigated. Democrats suspect County Clerk Vickie McKee is letting outsiders swell the Daggett County registration rolls to give Republicans an advantage. The Democrats also say the father of a Republican deputy running for sheriff has 14 adults registered at his household.

The Brad Blog, as usual, is keeping up with the mounting problems…

Pennsylvania Tops List of Complaints So Far Coming in to Election Incident Hotline as of Noon ET
Right-Wing Talk Show Host Encourages Listeners to Jam Voter Complaint Hotline…

Diebold Voting Machines Failing to Start Up in Utah, Voters Being Turned Away…
Smartcard Encoders Reportedly Not Working…Paper Ballots Not Available Everywhere…

Myriad Problems Reported to Local News Outlet in Chicago…
From machines not working or being available when the polls opened, to votes flipping on touch-screens and more…

Missouri Election Integrity Org Says More Reports of Touch-Screen Vote Flipping…

USA Today Reports ‘Voting machine problems bedevil multiple states’
Trouble With Machines in Indiana, Florida, Ohio, Illinois

***

An aside — is anyone going need a hankie when this guy gets his tush whipped tonight?

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Pam Spaulding

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