Watchers Tell of Long Lines, Glitches, Misinformation

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 7, 2012 | Go to article overview

Watchers Tell of Long Lines, Glitches, Misinformation


Byline: Jim McElhatton, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Voters at some Virginia polls waited up to five hours to cast ballots, Florida voters received phone calls from an election official telling them the wrong day to vote, and dozens of Republican poll workers in heavily Democratic Philadelphia needed a court order to get into election locations.

Those were just some of the reports of Election Day irregularities that surfaced Tuesday as lawyers for both parties and watchdog groups monitored for unusual activity that could tilt the outcome of the most expensive presidential race in U.S. history.

In Philadelphia, the New Black Panther Party was back in election news after a reporter at Philadelphia magazine snapped a picture of a uniformed member of the group in front of one polling place. In 2008, members of the group were at the center of a voting-intimidation complaint filed by the George W. Bush Justice Department but later dropped by the Obama administration.

Across the country, a nonpartisan election watchdog group said it had received tens of thousands of complaints from voters, many from storm-ravaged parts of New Jersey where election officials were scrambling to help voters displaced by Superstorm Sandy cast ballots.

Barbara R. Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, which is part of the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition, said many complaints involved massive confusion over voter identification rules in multiple states as well as problems with poorly prepared election offices.

Ms. Arnwine said some voters in Pennsylvania were told they needed government identification when that was not, in fact, a requirement under the law.

She also said an election official in Pinellas County, Fla., reminded voters in ill-timed robo-calls Tuesday to vote the next day, a day after the elections.

She also said there were widespread reports of long lines throughout Virginia, including some locations where voters waited up to five hours.

This is not the first time we've seen this, Ms. Arnwine told reporters in a conference call.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department sent out more than 700 election monitors in 23 states as lawyers from both political parties and watchdog groups looked for irregularities. …

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Watchers Tell of Long Lines, Glitches, Misinformation
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