September 24th, 2008
03:01 PM ET
13 years ago

Official warns Congress to expect problems on Election Day

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Election official warning that there may be voting problems on November 4th."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A top election official warned of a potential "tsunami" on Election Day because of serious problems facing overburdened state and local officials preparing for an unprecedented turnout at the polls November 4th.

Doug Lewis, Executive Director of the National Association of Election Officials told a House panel Wednesday that he is reminded of what Hurricane Ike did to Galveston as he looks at the potential for election disaster.

"Galveston knew what was coming. They did everything they could, but they were overwhelmed," he said.

Lewis and top election officials from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia all warned members of two House subcommittees that the lack of resources, lack of trained poll workers, new mandated but untested voting procedures combined with waves of new voters could cause havoc.

They all predicted most voters could expect at the least very long and often slow-moving lines.

Lewis said election officials continue to get overloaded with complicated new requirements for checking voters at the polls, and yet on average the poll workers get about three hours of training.

The election officials placed some of the burden for preparations on the voters–insisting they should be prepared– being certain of their registration, knowing where to go, knowing what to expect and what ID to have.

The election officials also urged Congressional members to avoid highly inflammatory partisan allegations, saying the voters must have confidence in the integrity of the voting system.

Filed under: 2008 Election
soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. Mike

    It is not a myth that mostly republicans (maybe a few democrats) have actively participated in voter suppression schemes the election cycle. Recently, the GOP sent out vote by mail to many people targeted as democrat. However the return address for these ballots were for the wrong voting districts, and therefore would have to be forwarded to the correct polling districts. This would cause many peoples votes to not be counted. I absolutely guarantee you there will be major problems on election day, and I absolutely guarantee you those problems will be heavily concentrated in inner city districts. If you suspect any sort of voter fraud, REPORT IT. And for people who have the opportunity to vote early, do it! Especially if you live in heavily populated areas that may be busy on election day.

    September 24, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Alice Brinkley

    Hey Virginia, this time you take the heat away from Florida and find a way to rig the polls so that Obama can't win. Also Wisconsin and Michigan, you can help too.

    September 24, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. souza

    Is there some reason that this issue has not been fixed in 8 years, after the hanging Chad in Florida.
    I don't think they want to fix it, that way they can manipulate the system.
    When will the American People have a fair and every vote counted election?
    Miss you Hillary.

    September 24, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Jacqueline for Obama/Biden 08!

    They have 42 days before the election to fix the problem. As quickly as they are moving to disperse a whopping 700 billion dollars in a matter of days, the same urgency needs to be given to fixing the already anticipated clustermuck on election day. They've known all year long what day the election will be held, and for any potential problems not to be anticipated and fixed is absolutely unacceptable!

    September 24, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Marilyn

    Already started in Indiana and Michigan. People when going to the polls do not wear anything with the names of candidates on it.

    September 24, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Jeffer65

    It's happening in Wisconsin too with a lawsuit involving voter verification.

    September 24, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. Pam

    Hmmmm, I wonder of those "problems" will turn out to favor the republicans again.

    September 24, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Rob indetroit

    People need to ask for a paper ballot.

    September 24, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Looks like all sides are mounting a plan to recreate the skirmishes of 2000.

    Can't wait to see our electoral process trampled in the dirt again–not.

    September 24, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. smithonpolitics

    Folks, avoid the lines and vote early. There are several States voting today! Yes, you can vote today! Please get your vote in soon. If you're not registered, the deadline is sometime around Oct 1.

    September 24, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Brad Hurt

    The republicans will not steel this election.

    September 24, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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