(CNN) - Voters in several states have receiving bogus text messages or e-mail urging supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to put off voting until Wednesday because of long lines, spurring threats of prosecution in at least two states.
The messages - a perennial election stunt - popped up Tuesday on mobile phones and computers in the battleground states of Florida, Virginia and Missouri, as well as in several other states. One falsely claimed to be a "CNN breaking news" alert.
"All Obama voters, due to long delays, are asked to wait and vote tomorrow 11/05," that message stated.
Election Day is a one-day event, of course - and in a statement issued Tuesday, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said she had "no tolerance" for anyone attempting to confuse voters.
"I am working with local election officials around the state to make sure poll workers and voters understand their rights," said Carnahan, a Democrat.
"Anyone attempting to deprive voters of their rights on Election Day will be prosecuted."
In Maryland, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Douglas Gansler said his office had passed along complaints about the messages to the U.S. Justice Department and state prosecutors.
Similar messages were reported in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Maryland and Arkansas.
In Virginia, hackers breached the computer network at George Mason University to send the message, university Provost Peter Stearns told students, faculty and staff in an e-mail denouncing the hoax.
"I am sure everybody realizes this is a hoax," he said. "It is also a serious offense, and we are looking into it. Please be reminded that Election Day is today, November 4th."
A flyer with a similar message was spread around the Hampton Roads area of southeast Virginia last week. Virginia State Police said Monday that they would not bring charges against the man who printed them, and state Board of Elections Secretary Nancy Rodriguez called the flyers "a joke that got out of control."
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) - Long lines at polling stations across the city are no surprise, said officials at the St. Louis County Board of Elections. Callers into the CNN Voting Hotline reported waits of 4 to 6 hours in the northern suburbs of Jennings and Velda City.
The county's board of elections assistant director Dick Bauer said a lengthy ballot and what he expects to be a record turnout have slowed the process. Voters can make as many as 37 selections on the ballot today, and 10 of them are issue choices, said Bauer.
Voters in line at two polling locations in the suburb of Jennings have been experiencing waits of 4 hours or more, according to U.S. Representative William Lacy Clay. The congressman said both Jennings City Hall and Fairview Elementary were understaffed to handle the crowds.
CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) - Some judges at polling precincts in Ohio were issuing provisional ballots in error because they were confused about whether state drivers' licenses with outdated addresses could be used as proof of identification, Hamilton County Board of Elections Director Sally Krisel confirmed Tuesday.
"They are nervous, so they have them vote by provisional ballot," Krisel said of the judges who were not aware of an Ohio law that mandates that drivers' licenses can be used as proof of identification and address, even if the address does not match the voter's current address.
Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Community Outreach coordinator Kim Bartlett says the same thing is occurring in her county.
"If I move, I'm not required to get a new drivers license with a new address, she explained Tuesday. "Licenses are good for four years, even if they don't have a valid address, its still considered valid proof of ID."
Both the Hamilton County and Cuyahoga County Board of Elections say they were engaged in outreach efforts throughout election day to explain the rules on provisional ballots to confused poll workers.
Ohio State University law professor said he had also heard some complaints about voters being forced to use the provisional ballot but it was too early to tell if this was a systematic, statewide problem.
(CNN) - A man wearing what appeared to be a black outfit with a beret and holding a nightstick was asked by police to leave a polling location in Philadelphia Tuesday, according to Philadelphia County Board of Elections Supervisor, Bill Rubin.
Rubin says the man left without incident. He says another man wearing similar attire had a poll watcher certificate and was allowed to remain at the polling site at 1221 Fairmont Avenue.
A video posted on Youtube, by electionjournal.org, shows two men standing several feet in front of the entrance to Guild House West, the polling location for the 4th Division of Ward 14 in Philadelphia. The cameraman in the video asks a man with a nightstick who he's with and the man responds, "I'm security." The cameraman later says "I think it might be a little bit intimidating that you have a stick in your hand."
Rubin says local election rules state a person cannot be within 10 to 15 feet of the entrance to a polling place unless that person is voting, is a poll worker, or has a poll watcher certificate.
Rubin says anyone practicing voter intimidation outside that 10 to 15 foot perimeter could pose a public safety issue and would be handled by the police.
Cathie Abookire, a spokewoman for the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, says the office is not investigating the matter, calling it a "non-incident." Abookire says, "We have had no complaints from any voters that they have been intimidated."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rain in parts of North Carolina caused some early problems for voters using optical scanner ballots Tuesday, but a memo about using paper towels seemed to dry up the problem, according to North Carolina officials.
Voters were coming into voting locations early Tuesday morning and getting the paper ballots wet as they handled them, according to Gary Bartlett, Executive Director of the North Carolina Election Board.
"We sent out a memo to the county election boards asking them to hand out paper towels to voters before they were given a ballot," Bartlett said.
Bartlett was not sure how many calls his office received Tuesday, but he said it was very few before he recognized the potential problem and sent out the message.
The problem seemed to subside, Bartlett said, as he saw a drop in the number of calls reporting the wet ballot problem later in the morning.
(CNN) - Officials in Dona Ana County, New Mexico say they are having problems with absentee ballots. But it's unclear just how many voters may not see their vote count.
Jess Williams, public information officer for the county, said of 11,985 absentee ballots requested, 8,141 have been processed. As of midday Tuesday, the number of outstanding absentee ballots is 3,844.
And the Bureau of Elections is still getting calls from residents who have not yet received their absentee ballots, Williams said. He said those voters may go to the polling place where they are registered to request a provisional ballot and they will be allowed to vote.
While that may be an option for some, many voters vote absentee because health problems keep them from going to the polls. Others are away at college, in the military, or out of town for other reasons, and showing up in person may not be possible.
(CNN) KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Polling locations that had incorrect registration rolls in Kansas City's 5th Ward now have the right books, according to Laura Egerdal, Communications Director for Missouri's Secretary of State's Office. She said the county dispatched additional pollworkers to help with the backlog of voters and long lines.
When judges for six precincts in the fifth ward opened the first set of books this morning, they discovered that the cover jackets did not match the registration rolls, said Board of Elections director Shelley McThomas. The covers - indicating ward, precinct and sequence numbers - were mixed up when the books were originally assembled.
"They looked like the right books, but when the judges opened them this morning they discovered, no, these pages aren't the right pages", McThomas said. New books were printed on-site at the Board of Elections after the problem was discovered, and were delivered by deputies to anxious judges and voters in the fifth ward.
(CNN) - In response to a complaint to the CNN Voter Hotline, the Virginia Board of Elections is directing polling stations to assist elderly and disabled voters, according to the board's Mike Litterst. He said Virginia Secretary of State Nancy Rodriguez has sent an email to state registrars that the stations are obligated to assist those individuals.
Chesapeake is reporting few technical problems in any of its 53 voting sites, a Chesapeake City support technician told CNN. He said the voting machines are user friendly, even for the elderly and disabled, and poll workers are certified to adjust any machine to assist voters.
The state election board spokesman said in the event the machines are down, paper ballots would be offered. Litterst could not confirm the caller's claims that there was no one to help the elderly and disabled but said measures have been taken to ensure that those voters are being treated fairly.
Kansas City, Mo. (CNN) - At least three polling locations in Kansas City's 5th Ward have the wrong registration books, said Board of Elections director Shelley McThomas. She said cover jackets indicating ward, precinct and sequence numbers were mixed up when the books were assembled at the Board of Elections.
Deputies deliver the books in pairs, and McThomas said elections officials think the problems are limited to 6 registration rolls for 3 polling locations within Ward 5.
"They looked like the right books, but when the judges opened them this morning they discovered, no, these pages aren't the right pages", McThomas said.
Kansas City election officials have sent teams to investigate. McThomas confirmed CNN voter hotline caller Elizabeth Wakowski's report that one of the affected polling locations is at the Immanuel Lutheran Church at 1700 Westport Rd.
McThomas said she's waiting to hear back from deputies in the field whether the problems have been resolved.
(CNN) - Philadelphia has experienced problems with voting machines not working in eight of 1,681 election divisions throughout the city, according to Bill Rubin, Supervisor of the Philadelphia County Board of Elections.
Rubin reported none of these problems have been serious, and where machines have gone down, voters have been allowed to vote on emergency ballots.
He says these emergency ballots are the same forms as provisional ballots, but are marked with an "EB" to indicate they are emergency ballots, and they will be counted just as if they were votes recorded on a machine. In contrast, provisional ballots are given to those voters whose registrations cannot be confirmed in the poll book, or who have gone to the wrong voting division.
Rubin said some of the problems with voting machines may be a result of poll workers forgetting their training. He says in some cases poll workers received training some time ago, and may have forgotten parts of it by election day, leading them to start the voting machines incorrectly.