Roundup: Voter irregularities

November 6, 2012

VoteTracker: Here is a partial look at reported incidents of voter registration and election irregularities, with links to full stories on the issue.

Nov. 6 — FLORIDA  Steaming, hundreds of voters in line watch polls close on them. Some 300 people were still in line at Ronald Reagan High School in the Miami suburb of Doral when the polls closed. Hundreds more waited in other parts of Miami-Dade County, standing in lines for hours without restroom facilities, the Miami Herald reported. Some precincts in Broward County, to the north, halted voting when ballots ran out. Many voters gave up rather than weather six-hour lines. People who arrived at 6:30 at Miami-Dade election headquarters to pick up an absentee ballot could not get one before they were due in at 7, the Herald reported. The votes were crucial in a state where the difference between Obama and Romney was razor-thin. See the full story. 

Nov. 6  VIRGINIA  Long lines keep some polls open, but only for those in line. In Prince William County, people waited as long as four hours at one polling station, with Democratic operatives pleading with them to hold out a little bit longer. The county's River Oaks precinct had only six voting machines for the 5,100 voters registered in the heavily minority and Democratic-leaning area. Read the full story.

Nov. 6 — NEVADA — Minor issues so far. Two voting machines were taken out of service because of malfunctions and one touchscreen did not reflect the proper choice, officials said. Authorities corrected the issues, reported Catherine Lu, spokeswoman for the secretary of state.

Nov. 6 — OHIO — Poor voters unnecessarily 'pushed' to provisional ballots? That's what Ohio's Senate Minority leader says. Voters in poor and traditionally African American neighborhoods are being asked "for photo ID, you don’t need that in Ohio, but they’re requiring that in certain instances. They’re requiring that the address on the ID match the address in the book — that’s not required,"  state Sen. Eric Kearney told Buzzfeed.

Nov. 6 — NEW JERSEY — Deadline extended until Friday for e-mail, fax voting. Faced with a flood of applications to vote via e-mail or fax by people displaced by Hurricane Sandy, the Garden State extended the voting deadline. Over the weekend, the administration of Gov. Chris Christie chose to offer e-mail and fax voting to storm victims, despite security concerns. See the full story.

Nov. 6 — FLORIDA — Voting machine problems; 12,310 'wrong-day' robocalls. At least two Hillsborough County polls reported vote-machine problems, the Tampa Tribune reported. Also, officials acknowledged the higher number of Pinellas County voters who got a robo-call Tuesday by election officials mistakenly telling them the vote was Wednesday. Another 28,300 calls with the correct date were made Monday. The mistake came from a vendor, said the county elections supervisor. Vote-scanning problems also occurred in the South Florida communities of Miami Springs, Pembroke Pines and Plantation, the Miami Herald reported.

Nov. 6 — PENNSYLVANIA — Provisional ballots galore in Philadelphia. Large numbers of registered North and West Philadelphia voters are not being shown on the city's books and are being asked to cast provisional ballots, election workers and observers tell the Philadelphia CityPaper. The problems followed reports that election officials had not processed up to 20,000 voter registrations just two weeks before the vote. Read the full article.

 Nov. 6 — COLORADO — A Romney-to-Obama voting machine? The state's secretary of state is investigating after a dozen complaints that a voting machine in Pueblo changed as many as 12 voters to Barack Obama, KRDO is reporting. The county clerk said the problem has affected choices for both presidential candidates. See the full story.

Nov. 6 — PENNSYLVANIA — Democrats send voters to wrong polling place. The York County Democratic chairman apologized for volunteers leaving messages with the wrong polling places for a York neighborhood, the Patriot-News reported. The fliers were mistakenly picked up by the volunteers and intended for another neighborhood, the party chairman said. Read the full article. In other Keystone state news, officials recalibrated a voting machine after a YouTube video showed that it changed an Obama vote to Romney.

Nov. 6 — DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — Right election, wrong day. A Democratic committee's automated call to voters said the election was Wednesday, not Tuesday. The committee said a Chicago vendor recorded the message, which ran to some voters Monday night. When the list was resumed Tuesday morning, the ''tomorrow'' wasn't changed, dcist.com reported. An updated message was sent out. Read the full story

Nov. 6 — OHIO — Malfunctioning election scanners in Cleveland. Voting equipment has been down in parts of Cleveland and several suburbs, including Cleveland Heights, Maple Heights and Parma, the Plain Dealer reports. In Parma Heights, problems were reported with a machine counting the ballots. AP reported similar problems in Dayton and Toledo. Cleveland-area election officials later reported few incidents and early balloting indicated heavy turnout. Read the full story.

Nov. 6 — NEW JERSEY — Complaints mounting from storm-affected voters. Voters have said they cannot find new voting locations, volunteers are overwhelmed and e-mail submissions are ''a mess,'' according to NJ.com.  The state has allowed voting by e-mail or fax, but many voters said they never received a ballot back after they contacted election offices online.

 Nov. 6 — OHIO — Tea party-linked poll watchers rejected. Franklin County rejected a Houston-based group from monitoring polls after falsified applications were found. Voter advocates said True The Vote told volunteers to use cameras to intimidate voters when they entered the polling place, to record their names on tablet computers and to attempt to stop questionably qualified voters before they could get to a voting machine. Read the full story.

Nov. 6 — FLORIDA — Election supervisor robocall gives wrong date for vote. Some voters in Florida’s Pinellas County received automatic calls Tuesday morning from the local supervisor of elections mistakenly informing them that they had until 7 p.m. Wednesday to cast their votes. (Polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday). Officials said the call was a glitch and that a second set of calls went out later in the morning. Read the full story.

Nov. 5 — OHIO — Dispute remains ahead of vote. Less than 12 hours before polls are to open in this battleground state, voting rights advocates and Ohio's Secretary of State Jon Husted remain divided on voter ID issues. The advocates say a Husted directive has improperly shifted the burden to voters instead of poll workers for accurately recording the form of identification on provisional ballots or casting them in the proper precinct. They say the move, in conflict with a consent degree last month, may result in a higher number of ballots being invalidated.

Nov. 5 — VIRGINIA — Mormon issue raised in pro-Obama mailer. Mitt Romney’s Mormon beliefs are featured in a voter guide being circulated to African American churchgoers in the Hampton Roads area. The brochure,  by a coalition of black pastors in the Norfolk area, compares what it presents as the religious beliefs held by Romney and President Obama. Read the full story.

Nov. 5 — FLORIDA — Big ballot: big problems? A lengthy ballot has already exacerbated long early voter lines and general chaos at some precincts, raising fears of very slow voting on Election Day. ''The voter who sees this ballot for the first time may need smelling salts,'' said one county elections supervisor.

Nov. 5 — ARIZONA — Robocalls directing Democratic voters to wrong poll locations.   Arizona's Democratic Party demanded a state and federal probe after a round of automated phone calls on behalf of U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Flake identified the wrong polling location to Democratic voters, the Arizona Republic reported. Flake acknowledged his campaign paid for the robocalls but said the inadvertent misinformation affected few people. 

Nov. 4 — FLORIDA — 'Let us vote!' The state Democratic Party filed a lawsuit to extend voting in four counties and voters waited for hours to try to vote Sunday in Miami-Dade County. Mayor Carlos Gimenez told the Miami Herald that the county headquarters had temporarily shut down, prompting a protest by voters screaming "Let us vote!" because he hadn't authorized the additional hours. Gimenez relented, allowing hundreds more to vote. Florida traditionally has permitted Sunday voting, but the GOP-controlled state Legislature eliminated it last year.

Nov. 3 — OHIO — New fears. Freezing voters waited in lines for hours to cast early ballots for president. Scores of ministers urged their flocks to join them after services to vote. "The way stuff is happening here, they'll have some law by tomorrow that says none of us can vote Tuesday,'' said Pastor Dexter Wise of Columbus, who prayed that this election wouldn't be decided by ''deceit and fraud." Voter advocates also challenged a weekend order by Ohio's GOP secretary of state that they say will lead to more challenged ballots — and longer lines on Election Day.

Nov. 2 — VIRGINIA — Vote-dumping probe widens. State officials are expanding their probe of a former Republican National Committee worker who trashed voter-registration cards to a huge consulting group that has received more than $21 million from GOP campaign committees for work in the past decade. Voter activities by the same group prompted a fraud investigation last month in Florida. Read the full story.

Nov. 1 — FLORIDA, MISSOURI, OHIO, VIRGINIA — Poll-watchers mobilized.  A leading civil right group will be monitoring polls in nine states because it fears attempted suppression of voters through intimidation, deception or challenges to their eligibility. Other states under review include Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. Read the full story. 

Oct. 30 — PENNSYLVANIA — Will Hurricane Sandy hurt Keystone State vote? You have two more days to request an absentee ballot because storms closed election offices early this week. But you must return those ballots by the same deadline, Friday, says Gov. Tom Corbett. The storm also hampered processing of new registrations. In Philadelphia County, commissioners were still struggling to process 28,000 new registrations. Read full article here.

Oct. 30 — WISCONSIN — Training poll workers to mislead? Romney campaign documents encourage the candidate's poll workers to hide their affiliation to the public and to election workers, the liberal ThinkProgress.org claims. Poll workers also are told that  people convicted of a felony cannot vote, although legally, felons can vote when they complete their sentence and probation. The Romney camp called the report false. Read the full story.

Oct. 26 — FLORIDA — Duplicate absentee ballots created. About 27,000 absentee ballots already cast by voters are being painstakingly copied by hand to make sure they can be read in a scanning machine, the AP reported. Otherwise, the votes wouldn't be counted. Printing errors have caused problems on thousands of absentee ballots nationwide. Read the full story.

Oct. 25 — NORTH CAROLINA — Bogus callers tell people they can vote by phone. Election officials warned voters of the fraudulent messages, which have also been reported in the swing states of Florida and Virginia. Officials in one county also are recalibrating voting machines that recorded the wrong votes, the Charlotte Observer reported. Read the full story.  

Oct. 24 — VIRGINIA — Congressman's son quits campaign after vote fraud video. Patrick Moran, the son of 11-term Rep. James P. Moran Jr., resigned from his father’s campaign Wednesday hours after an undercover video showed him discussing possible voter fraud with an activist posing as a campaign worker. Moran’s campaign issued a statement calling it “an error in judgment.” Read the full story.

Oct. 24 — FLORIDA — FBI brought in to investigate bogus voter purge letters. The effort targeted prominent Republicans in 28 Florida counties, a group alleges. The letter asserted that it had received information from the state “bringing into question your eligibility as a registered voter.” It directs the recipient to “please stop by our main office with any original documentation that demonstrates U.S. citizenship” and says vote fraud is a felony. Read the full story.

Oct. 23 — OHIO, WISCONSIN — Dozens of voter fraud billboards coming down. Civil rights groups had said the billboards, paid for by an anonymous group, were a brazen form of voter intimidation. The billboards, which featured a massive judge's gavel and warned ''voter fraud is a felony," were in African American neighborhoods in Cleveland, Columbus and Milwaukee. The billboard company was Clear Channel Outdoor, which is co-owned by Bain Capital, Mitt Romney's old private equity firm. Read the full story.

Oct. 23 — VIRGINIA — Federal probe demanded. Three members of Congress have asked for a federal probe into vote fraud allegations. Virginia Democrats have been calling for a wider investigation since the Rockingham County sheriff’s office announced last week that it had arrested a Pennsylvania man on 13 counts of voter registration fraud. Colin Small, who had worked for a Republican Party contractor, was allegedly seen discarding completed voter registration forms in a Harrisonburg dumpster. Read the full story.

Oct. 23 — PENNSYLVANIA — More billboard complaints. Billboards advertising a state law on voter IDs are confusing people and could suppress voter turnout, voter advocates told the Philadelphia Daily News. A court delayed imposition of the law until 2013, but some billboards, part of a $5 million state advertising campaign, remain. Examples include 10 billboards in primarily Hispanic neighborhoods showing a woman with a driver's license saying in Spanish: "This Election Day, if you have it, show it.'' Read the full story

Oct. 22 — OHIO, ARIZONA — Whoops, wrong Election Day.  Authorities in a swing county in Ohio sent out notices to some voters announcing the elections as Nov. 8 instead of Nov. 6. The election director, a Republican, attributed the problem to a computer glitch. In one county in Arizona, the same error was made in Spanish-language voter registration cards. Officials called it an honest mistake. Read the full story.

Oct. 16 — MARYLAND — Online voter registration suspect? A voting rights group and some of the nation’s leading researchers on election technology are urging Maryland voters to check the accuracy of their online voter registration files after warning that the data had been left vulnerable to tampering. The letter warned that anyone with access to a Maryland voter’s full name and birth date could exploit a simple online tool to change the voter’s address, party affiliation or other information. Such changes, especially a change of address, could lead to a voter’s ballot not being counted normally on Election Day. Ross K. Goldstein, deputy administrator of the elections board, said the state had taken unspecified steps to protect voter files. Read the full story.

Oct. 12 — VIRGINIA, WISCONSIN, IOWA — He's back. Nathan Sproul, fired by the Republican National Committee amid fraud allegations in Florida, advertised for a voter canvassing operation this fall in as many as 30 states, his spokesman tells the Los Angeles Times. Virginia, Wisconsin and Iowa were three of the states where Sproul advertised for the $15-an-hour "conservative voter identification'' effort. The Republican National Committee fired Sproul after authorities began an investigation into suspect forms in up in 10 Florida counties. Read the full story.

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Jessica Goldstein | November 6, 2012