Voting isn’t going smoothly everywhere today. To provide you with an up-to-date sense of what irregularities voters say they are facing across the country, I’ve set up shop in the command center of Election Protection, a nonpartisan coalition of legal groups that monitors voter complaints as they come in. About 100 volunteers in D.C.—there are 2,000 volunteers nationwide—started manning the phones here at 5:30 a.m. and for the last couple of hours, they’ve been ringing constantly. They’ve already fielded about 5,000 calls this morning, mostly from Philadelphia, New York, and Texas.
The complaints run the gamut—from lack of electricity at polling places to broken machines to just plain voter confusion. Many of them seem fishy, but may have perfectly legal explanations:
- In Virginia, a mother and daughter say they went in to vote at the very same polling place and were shocked to discover that they had different congressional candidates listed on their ballots.
- In Florida, ex-felons who voted in 2008 are calling in to complain that they were not allowed to vote this year—the consequence of a crackdown that has bolstered a law that was laxly enforced in past elections, and a failure to notify these voters of the proper requirements.
- In Pennsylvania, a computer misread one gentleman’s vote and a polling volunteer—who couldn’t get the damn thing to work—called out to the room full of voters: “Does anyone want to vote for this candidate? Because this guy wants to vote for someone else and we can’t get his ballot to work.” So much for privacy in the voting booth!
But far more serious, systematic complaints may begin filtering in as well—and this is where you’ll hear about them first. Keep checking in all day for updates.