President-elect Obama will be greeted by people concerned about several U.S. policies when his train arrives in Washington Saturday evening. (Photo Credit: Adam Levine/CNN)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama isn't back in Washington yet but the protestors have lined up to greet and remind him of a host of issues that await him following the swearing in. With construction on the presidential reviewing stand continuing and tourists snapping photos, protestors in orange prison jumpsuits unfurled signs to raise their voice on Guantanamo, the Gaza situation and Iraq.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama, who campaigned on lessening the influence of lobbyists in government, has chosen a defense expert who is currently a vice president and lobbyist for one of the country's biggest defense contractors to be his deputy secretary of defense.
Obama's transition office announced that William Lynn, an undersecretary of defense in President Bill Clinton's second term, is nominated to Defense Secretary Robert Gates' deputy.
Lynn is currently a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts and is the maker of the Army's Patriot Missile system and the Tomahawk missile used by the Navy. The company is also developing a global positioning satellite communication system with the Air Force.
As deputy secretary, Lynn would be involved in the process of budgeting and acquisitions, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Defense Department.
Obama's transition office acknowledged that appointing a lobbyist did not, on the face of it, seem in line with the president-elect's ethics stance but that Lynn's qualifications and the recommendations that came from both Republicans and Democrats made him the top candidate.
"Because Mr. Lynn came so highly recommended from experts across the political spectrum, the president-elect felt it was critical that he fill this position," said Obama transition spokesman Tommy Vietor.
Vietor said Lynn and the transition team would create guidelines that would fit the ethics standards of the new administration.
"We are aware that Mr. Lynn lobbied for Raytheon and are working with Mr. Lynn to craft a role for him that is consistent with the president-elect's high standards while balancing the need to fill this critical national security position," Vietor said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The military has prepared an initial plan for withdrawal from Iraq that meets the demands of the recent agreement with Iraq, but appears to contradict the wishes of President-elect Barack Obama.
Generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno, the top commanders in Iraq, briefed Defense Secretary Robert Gates on plans for the withdrawal of the 146,000 troops in Iraq, when Gates visited the country last weekend.
In turn, Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, informed Obama this week about "the way ahead in Iraq," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Thursday.
That briefing was a "point of conversation" during the 5-1/2 hour national security team meeting Monday in Chicago, a senior military official said.
An Obama transition official confirmed that Mullen discussed the "current plans developed under President Bush."
Among those attending the meeting were Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton, Vice President-elect Joseph Biden and Gen. James Jones, Obama's choice for national security adviser.
The meeting covered a "whole range of topics," including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, the transition official said.
The current withdrawal plan proposes removing all U.S. combat troops from Iraqi urban areas in 2009, and all American troops from Iraq by 2011, in keeping with the recent Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, signed by President Bush, according to the senior military official.
The agreement with Iraq details withdrawals for 2009, 2010 and 2011, the official said. It proposes removing troops at a slower pace than Obama promised during the campaign, when he called for all combat troops to be out within 16 months - by the summer of 2010.
(CNN) – On the eve of Election Day, amid overwhelming public interest in the presidential race, some voters are being confronted with a sea of election-related misinformation.
Sheila Robinson, a resident of Dayton, Ohio, tells CNN that she received a robo call at her home Monday. The call informed her that Republicans would be voting on November 4 in this year’s general election, and Democrats would be voting on November 5.
That information is incorrect. The Ohio Secretary of State’s Web site is clear: Everyone in Ohio votes Tuesday, November 4.
Laura Jordan of the Montgomery County, Ohio Board of Elections, says she has not received reports of any calls like the one Robinson received. But Jordan also tells CNN that she has received reports of misleading automated calls giving voters incorrect information about the location of their polling places. Voters who call the county board reporting these types of calls are told the correct location for their polling place, according to Jordan.
If you live in Ohio, click here for voter information from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Web site.
CNN will be tracking voter problems through Election Day. If you have a problem or see a problem, call the CNN Voter Hotline at 877-462-6608. See what issues are a concern in each state by clicking on the interactive Hotline map at cnn.com/hotline.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Enthusiasm at the polls continued on Sunday with waits for early voting in some states stretching to six hours. The CNN Voter Hotline got calls this weekend from voters awed at the turnout and others frustrated by the wait.
In Columbus, Ohio, 27-year-old Dana Zoladz and four friends gave up after realizing there was a six-hour wait to vote at the Franklin County early voting center at the Veterans Memorial. She said would try again on Election Day.
Her father, Dan Zoladz, told the CNN Hotline that, "Six hours is ridiculous in terms of waiting in line."
The county spokesman, Michael Stinziano, said people began lining up as early as 6:30 a.m., even though voting did not begin until 1 p.m.
"I think it is fair to say that we had a four hour line before we opened the doors," Stinzi said in an e-mail.
In Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, lines were stretching "about two blocks," said Mike West, spokesman for the county election board.
West said the atmosphere in line was upbeat. His voting location opened up an hour earlier than scheduled to accommodate the crowds.
Both counties said anyone in line by the 5 p.m. closing time at would get to vote.
To date, the Hotline has gotten close to 25,000 calls including nearly 6,000 seeking their voting location and over 8,100 have called to tell CNN about an issue they had registering or voting. CNN's partner, InfoVoter Technologies has also transferred 16,000 callers to their local board of elections so they can get answers to their problems.
ATLANTA (CNN) – The scariest part of this Halloween for some Atlanta voters is the unprecedented wait time at area polling stations, where heavy turnout and computer problems are leading to delays of 2 to 10 hours.
At a downtown Atlanta location the wait was up to four hours Friday as the line stretched down three blocks according to CNN’s Rusty Dornin, who was in line herself at the location.
And that location isn't even the longest wait for voters in that county. According to Jessica Corbitt of the Fulton County Office of Community Relations, at the Welcome All Center in South Fulton County the wait was five hours long.
Three thousand people have voted at the Adamsville location, according to Beverly Isom, executive aide to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. Isom told us that those at the front of the line at 4 p.m. had been waiting to vote since 9am, and that hundreds more have signed up and continue to wait in line. Crowds are reported to be orderly and patient - but are weary of the six-hour wait.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A number of states try to make voting a little easier by allowing voters to choose all the candidates from a single party with a single vote.
Watch: Straight party voting problems
The process is known as straight-party or straight-ticket voting. But while it sounds straightforward, the CNN Voter Hotline has gotten a number of calls with concerns about whether the option works.
In Pennsylvania, an e-mail being circulated warns people about voting a straight ticket.
"The e-mail said that it won't count your vote," Gwen Bryant of Chester, Pennsylvania, told the Voter Hotline.
"We've gotten a lot of calls about this," said Leslie Amoros, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of State.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Pennsylvania must have paper ballots available for its voters if half the machines at a polling place break down, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
The state wanted paper ballots mandatory only if all the machines in a polling place failed.
"Emergency back-up paper ballots shall be used thereafter until the county board of elections is able to make the necessary repairs to the machine(s) or is able to place into operation," Judge Harvey Bartle ruled.
The state will not appeal the decision. In a statement, Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes said the state will work with counties to ensure emergency ballots are used consistently, and that there is a sufficient supply.
(CNN) – November 4 is still more than a week away, but voters are already encountering long lines in their efforts to vote early.
Callers to CNN’s voter hotline have reported long lines in Gary, Indiana. James Brown, a Gary resident, told CNN that there were only two machines available to cast ballots at the city’s courthouse for the 25-40 people who were there with Brown when he went to vote early.
A local official told CNN the problem is not limited just to Gary. “There are long lines everywhere,” said Ruth Anne Hoagland of the Lake County Elections and Registrations Board. “They are out the door.” Hoagland also said that turnout has been strong during early voting and voters should expect at least an hour wait.
Another Lake County election official told CNN that early voting centers in Gary and other parts of the county need more computers to check voter registrations. The official assured CNN that the issue would be resolved by Election Day.
Florida, ground zero for many concerns about voting irregularities during the 2000 presidential race, is also experiencing long lines during early voting. One caller to CNN’s hotline reported that her 85-year-old mother encountered a four-hour wait to vote in Broward County. CNN’s John Zarella found similar problems. Watch Zarella’s report about long lines in Broward on the first day of early voting.
Related: Long lines, glitches reported in early voting
If you have any problems or concerns about voting, CNN would like to hear about them. Call CNN’s voter hotline at 1-877-GOCNN-08 (1-877-462-6608) to report your problem.
(CNN) – Ordinarily, there’s a world of difference between Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, and former Georgia congressman Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party’s nominee. But voters tell CNN that machines in Knox County, Tennessee had them confused about which of the two men they were voting for.
“On the summary page, after I voted for Barack Obama, when you summarize before you hit ‘cast ballot,’ it says ‘BAR’ for my vote,” Russ Manning of Knoxville, Tennessee said in one of the calls CNN received about Knox County. With Barr’s name also on the ballot, Manning was concerned that machine was about to incorrectly record his vote for Obama as a vote for Barr. “And, so I had to go back and forth several times to make sure I was voting for the right person. With everybody else on the ballot, the names are completely spelled out but you only get ‘BAR’ for Barack Obama and ‘BOB’ for Bob Barr as I finally figured out.”
Local election officials in Knox County are aware of the issue and are working to inform voters and poll workers about that the unusual references are actually to the first three letters of each man’s first name. "'It’s because of the electors,’” Greg Mackay, the Knox County administrator of elections, told the Knoxville News Sentinel recently. "'It’s just on the president. It says ‘electors for’ on the summary page and the first three letters for the candidate of your choice.’” Mackay also told the newspaper he has received two or three complaints about the summary page of the county’s voting machines during the first week of early voting.