Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

‘Massive Confusion’ in Pennsylvania, New Jersey a ‘Hot Bed’ of Problems

A representative from the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition told Roll Call this afternoon that there were reports of “massive confusion” in Pennsylvania, voting-machine problems in Ohio, long lines in southern Virginia, technical problems in Texas and difficulties in New Jersey.

Tanya House, one of the attorneys working with the group, said there are reports that voters in Pennsylvania are showing up at the polls and being told they need photo identification, even though a recent court ruling delayed implementation of the commonwealth’s new voter ID law until after Election Day. Voters there were also receiving mailings as late as Friday that referenced the need for a photo ID.

“Massive confusion in Pennsylvania,” House said. “The state did not do a good job about informing people that they do not have to show photo ID in order to vote. Poll workers are telling them they do and people are being turned away.”

The coalition has received multiple reports of issues with voting machines in Ohio. Voters at multiple precincts there are being directed to cast emergency ballots because of technical problems. The coalition is concerned that these ballots are being placed in the same boxes as provisional ballots, which won’t be counted until 10 days after Election Day.

Though lines in the Virginia suburbs around Washington, D.C., had subsided by midday, House said there were reports of long lines in the southern part of the state.

And near Galveston, Texas, House said there were multiple reports that polling places did not open on time because workers had improperly booted up machines. “Clearly that’s not a voter error, that’s an administrative error” that needs to be remedied, House said.

She also said New Jersey, where voters are struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is a “hot bed” of reported problems.

The coalition is “trying to get someone on the ground there to assist” voters who are having trouble sending ballots by email and who are being evacuated from their towns on the day they are supposed to vote, House said.

New Jersey announced earlier today that as long as voters requested an application for a mail-in ballot by email or fax by 5 p.m. today, county clerks will continue processing those requests until Friday at noon. The voter must return the special ballot by fax, email or to the appropriate county board of elections by 8 p.m. Friday.

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