Unacceptable long lines, machine problems, registration and voter challenges and deception of voters

The election integrity organization True Vote released a summary of the election-related problems that have been seen thus far in the 2008 election. True Vote keeps a daily summary of election activity on its website www.TrueVote.US.org.

Kevin Zeese, the executive director of the organization summarized what has occurred so far saying “Early voting has been like watching an election in a slow meltdown. The U.S. has been seeing long lines in early voting with people waiting hours to vote. Electronic voting machines including touch screens and optical scans have shown consistent problems, the most dramatic being the switching of votes reported in West Virginia, Texas and Tennessee. There has been an ongoing battle on voter registration with Republicans attacking ACORN’s mass registration effort as well as challenging millions of newly registered voters in litigation. Republicans have uniformly lost their challenges to newly registered voters in court but are likely to be challenging voters on Election Day. There have been reports of voter deception ­ fliers telling people the wrong date, precinct workers telling voters the wrong way to vote and telephone canvassers providing misleading information. There have also been reports of absentee ballots picked up ‘volunteers’ never being delivered to the board of elections.”Zeese went on to warn: “If on Election Day we see the problems we’ve seen thus far it is going to be a long and messy day. The U.S. is showing it has a long way to go before it can claim to be the greatest democracy on Earth. What we are seeing should be unacceptable in a ‘great’ democracy.”

Approximately one-third of voters are voting early, here is a sample of what is occurring:

– Long lines. In many states people are waiting hours ­ some report as long as six hours to vote in early voting. A lot of the delay has been due to the move to touchscreen voting machines and electronic voter registration lists. These new technologies are slower than paper.

– Machine breakdowns. In West Virginia six counties have reported touch screen machines switching their vote. Voters attempted to vote for Obama and they saw the screen switch to McCain. There have been similar reports in Tennessee and Texas. In Texas, where people are allowed to select a straight party vote, the switching is occurring from Democrat to Republican. A CNN poll found that 42% of Americans do not trust their votes will be counted accurately.

– More machine breakdowns. It is not just touch screen machines showing problems, so are optical scan machines. In Florida there were reports that the optical scan could not read the ballots because they were too long.

– Failure to mail absentee ballots. Sequoia Voting Systems failed to send 11,000 absentee ballots to voters who requested them. Sequoia also did not tell the election administration of the oversight.

– Failure to deliver absentee ballots. ‘Volunteers’ in Florida are picking up absentee ballots from Democrats and not delivering them.

– Incomplete ballots. Early voters in two Arkansas counties received incomplete ballots. The election administrator is not going to do anything to correct the problem for those voters and just hopes the election is not close so the votes would not have changed the outcome.

– Voter deception. In Florida Democratic voters received calls falsely telling them they could call in their vote and avoid lines. In Philadelphia, fliers warn that people with outstanding tickets, child support payments and warrants will be arrested when they vote. In Hampton, Virginia they tell Democrats to vote on Wednesday, Republicans on Tuesday. In Texas, people are told if they want to vote for all the Democrats and make sure they vote for Obama, that after they select Democrat they should then select Obama ­ in fact, that erases the Obama vote.

– Registration fraud. ACORN has gotten a lot of attention for workers who registered the Dallas football team to vote in Utah, Mickey Mouse, telephone-book registration and one person registering dozens of times. It is hard to see how any of these false registrations will result in false votes ­ will Mickey Mouse actually vote? But there has been a lot of attention on this one.

– More registration fraud. A leader of a Republican registration drive, funded by the McCain campaign has been arrested on massive voter fraud.

– Challenges to registration. Republicans have mounted challenges to the tidal wave of Democratic registrations trying to force election administrators to check the identification of all new registrants. In state-after-state these challenges have been rejected by the courts.

– Voter suppression. Republican party officials in some states have openly talked about challenging voters at the polls. New registrants will be challenged and demanded to prove their identity. Registered voters who have lost their home to foreclosure or been evicted from their apartment are being threatened with voter challenges. Even if these challenges fail they will slow voting down so that some voters give up and go home.

True Vote plans to work with other election integrity advocates to work for democracy reforms to address these issues in 2009. “The advantage of being able to gradually cataloguing these problems during early voting allows policy makers to understand them better and therefore correct them. More and more Americans are aware of the serious flaws in U.S. democracy and will demand change,” said Zeese.

All of the above problems are documented in news article and reports published at www.TrueVote.US.

Kevin Zeese 443-708-8360