November 4th, 2008
05:16 PM ET
13 years ago

Turnout causes slow voting in parts of VA

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at Lyles Crouch School on Election Day November 4, 2008 in Alexandria, Virginia."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Some 50 percent of the registered voters in Chesapeake, Virginia showed up to the polls early to vote Tuesday morning causing long wait times, according to a spokesman at the Virginia Board of Elections.

Officials do not believe there were technical problems causing the lines, however some voting locations in the area were experiencing problems with optical scanner voting as wet ballots did not scan properly. It rained in parts of Virginia election day.

At a press conference for reporters election board officials said the wet ballots would be collected and secured and once dry tabulated by officials in front of official observers.

Voting crowds have since thinned out and Virginia election officials are expecting more lines as people leave work and come to the polls to vote.

Reports of lines in the Virginia Beach region are also due to a heavy volume of voters. The region is one of the largest municipalities in the state and has seen consistent voter turnout Tuesday, officials said.

The lines had about a 30 minute wait at 4pm eastern Tuesday, and to make things move faster election officials at the voting locations split the paper voter logs among the staff to allow more voters to check in faster, according to Jessica Lane, a spokesman at the Virginia Board of Elections.

There are no reports of equipment malfunctions, Lane said. The Virginia Beach voter region uses touch-screen electronic voting machines.

Filed under: Virginia • Voter Problems
November 4th, 2008
05:06 PM ET
13 years ago

Fake messages target Obama backers

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Fake text messages were sent out on Election Day."]
(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."

Filed under: Voter Problems
November 4th, 2008
04:52 PM ET
13 years ago

Wait times reach 4 to 6 hours in St. Louis area


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" A long line of voters wait patiently outside their polling place to cast their ballots in St. Louis."]
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.


Filed under: Missouri • Voter Problems
November 4th, 2008
03:52 PM ET
13 years ago

I.D. standards prove confusing in Cincinnati

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A voter in Cincinnati sits while filling out his ballot because all of the official voting stations were full."]
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.


Filed under: Ohio • Voter Problems
November 4th, 2008
03:47 PM ET
13 years ago

Man asked to leave Philly polling place

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Voters checked in a Philadelphia polling place Tuesday."]
(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, 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."

Filed under: Pennsylvania • Voter Problems
November 4th, 2008
01:38 PM ET
13 years ago

Paper towels solve NC soggy ballot problem

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Voters were in line before sunrise at one North Carolina polling place Tuesday morning."]
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.


Filed under: North Carolina • Voter Problems
November 4th, 2008
01:25 PM ET
10 years ago

Some absentee ballots MIA in NM county

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Some voters took advantage of early voting in New Mexico."]
(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.


Filed under: New Mexico • Voter Problems
November 4th, 2008
12:05 PM ET
13 years ago

K.C. registration books problem resolved

(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.

Filed under: Missouri • Voter Problems
November 4th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Elderly, disabled to get assistance in VA

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former Virginia Gov. and Senate candidate Mark Warner greets an elderly voter at a polling place in Alexandria, VA Tuesday."]
(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.

Filed under: Virginia • Voter Problems
November 4th, 2008
10:56 AM ET
13 years ago

Some Kansas City polling places have wrong registration books

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.

Filed under: Missouri • Voter Problems
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