Throughout this election, the Voice will be gathering information and articles about allegations of voter fraud and disenfranchisement. Check this page for regular updates.
President Bush moved to the brink of securing his bid for reelection early this morning, winning the prized battleground of Florida and holding what appeared to be an insurmountable lead over Sen. John F. Kerry in Ohio. But the Massachusetts senator considered continuing his battle to win the White House with a fight over provisional ballots in the Buckeye State.
— Dan Balz, The Washington Post, November 3, 2004
Waiting Was the Hardest Part
They waited for hours, steadfast in their passion to vote and undeterred by rain, sore feet or Election Day problems compounded by a record turnout. More than 500,000 people voted in Franklin County, and thousands were still waiting in line when the polls closed at 7:30 p.m., with the last person voting at 11:20 p.m.
— Columbus Dispatch, November 3, 2004
Some Voters Confused in Counties That Left Nader’s Name on Ballot
Although Ralph Nader was ordered off the ballot more than a month ago, some Ohio voters said it appeared they had the option of voting for him. “His name was right there, the first one,” said Bobby Ward, a Delaware County resident who said he voted yesterday in Liberty Township. “It was like a normal ballot. There were no signs, nothing.”
— Rita Price & Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch, November 3, 2004
Challengers at Polls, but Few Registration Disputes Reported
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Voters checking in at many Ohio polling places had at least one extra set of eyes on them Tuesday as Republicans and Democrats were allowed to challenge whether they were eligible to vote. There were only a few reports of challengers disputing people’s registrations.
— Associated Press, as reported in The Plain Dealer, November 3, 2004
Dan Tokaji of the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University talks about the role of provisional ballots in the Ohio vote. Hear Tokaji and NPR’s Steve Inskeep.
— NPR Morning Edition, November 3, 2004
COLUMBUS, OHIO (CNN) — Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell cut an imposing figure as he strode to the podium as Tuesday became Wednesday to address journalists and camera crews who had been waiting idly for hours for news of when Ohio’s provisional ballots would be counted.
— CNN, November 3, 2004
Ohio’s Provisional Ballots Delay Election Conclusion
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) — The battle for the U.S. presidency is focused on Ohio, where President George W. Bush’s campaign says it has an “insurmountable” lead and Senator John Kerry looks to about 150,000 uncounted provisional ballots.
— Bloomberg, November 3, 2004
White House Race Coming Down to Ohio
Bush sends legal team to Ohio, which will decide the race
WASHINGTON Nov 3, 2004 — With Ohio looming as a Florida redux, President Bush climbed within 16 electoral votes of a second term Wednesday and held a solid lead in the popular vote over Democratic rival John Kerry who insisted the race framed by war, terror and joblessness wasn’t over.
— Associated Press, as reported on ABC News, November 3, 2004
Candise Dorsey couldn’t quite believe what had just happened to her. A 40-year-old black voter from the eastern Cleveland suburbs, she went to her polling station early yesterday morning expecting chaos, confusion, aggressive challenges from Republican poll watchers, delays and possible bureaucratic obstacles standing in the way of her exercising her franchise.
— Andrew Gumbel, The Independent, November 3, 2004
Voters Report Problems With Computer Systems
WASHINGTON — Voters across the United States reported problems with electronic touch-screen systems on Tuesday in what critics said could be a sign that the machines used by one-third of the population were prone to error.
— Reuters, as reported on commondreams.org, November 3, 2004
Lines were long, tempers were short, some voting machines malfunctioned and a few polling places briefly replaced electronic wizardry with cardboard ballot boxes. But America’s national election seemed to run smoothly yesterday, with no widespread reports of chaos, fraud or legal challenges that might affect the outcome.
— Robert D. McFadden, The New York Times, November 3, 2004
Court OKs Voter Challengers in Ohio
Last-minute legal wrangling over election rules in Ohio continued until a few hours before the polls opened today, with an appeals court panel ruling that challengers would be allowed in precincts to question voters’ eligibility. Even so, reports from the polls in central Ohio so far today suggest few, if any, voters are actually being challenged.
— Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch, November 2, 2004
A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned a directive from the Ohio secretary of state that had barred reporters and photographers from polling places, finding the restriction unconstitutional.
— Joe Strupp, Editor & Publisher, November 2, 2004
Civil Rights Groups, Gop Trade Charges of Dirty Tricks
WASHINGTON — Civil rights groups, in an election eve report, charged that dirty tricks, “unprecedented” challenges of voter eligibility, and bureaucratic bungling around the country are threatening the turnout in minority neighborhoods… Among the examples cited:
— A bogus flyer with the emblem of McCandless Township, Pa., instructs voters, “Due to the immense voter turnout that is expected on Tuesday, the state of Pennsylvania has requested an extended voting period.” The flyer says Republicans should vote Nov. 2 and Democrats on Nov. 3.
— A faked letter using NAACP letterhead in Columbia, S.C., claims that those with an outstanding parking ticket or unpaid child support would be arrested if they vote. (A similar letter from the apparently non-existent “Milwaukee Black Voter League” tells voters that if they have been guilty of even a traffic offense and vote then “you can get ten years in prison and your children will get taken away from you.”)
— Julia Malone, The Palm Beach Post, November 2, 2004
Deputy Tackles, Arrests Journalist for Photographing Voters
A widely published investigative journalist was tackled, punched and arrested Sunday afternoon by a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy who tried to confiscate his camera outside the elections supervisor’s headquarters. About 600 people were standing in line waiting to vote early when James S. Henry was charged with disorderly conduct for taking photos of waiting voters about 3:30 p.m. outside the main elections office on Military Trail near West Palm Beach.
— Jane Daugherty, The Palm Beach Post, November 1, 2004
Officials, GOP Fight Over Vote-Fixing Claims in Philly
Incidents first alleged in ‘Drudge Report’ Web site
Election officials are spending the day investigating fraud allegations after Republican observers in Philadelphia said voting machines in the city already had thousands of votes recorded on them when the polls opened at 7 a.m.
— NBC News, November 2, 2004
Voters, Students Back at School After Hazmat Scare
Students evacuated from facility
Children are back in school and voters back at the polls after an apparent hazardous materials scare at a South Jersey school. The polling place in Mount Laurel closed for about two hours Tuesday morning when a substance that later turned out to be salt was found on the floor.
— NBC News, November 2, 2004
Judge Orders GOP to Halt Poll Tactics
Daschle sues to stop ‘intimidation’ of Indians
Republican poll workers in Lake Andes were intimidating Native American voters on Monday, a federal judge ruled early today. Republicans may not write down license plate numbers or follow Native Americans from polling places during today’s election, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol ruled in a temporary restraining order.
— Mike Madden, The Sioux Falls Argus Leader, November 2, 2004
I’m meeting this evening with some local citizens who plan to be election observers, so I thought I’d try to work out a list of “unusual” things that they should be looking for. Remember, the job of an observer is exactly that, to observe. You’re not there to say “ah hah!” if you think you caught something wrong. Simply make a note of it in as much detail as you can. Don’t be confrontational. Take meticulous notes. Note the precise time next to everything you write down. Write down exactly where you were and exactly what you saw. Later on, we can go through your notes and the notes of other observers to see if we detect any patterns of inappropriate behavior and/or malfunctioning equipment.
— Dan Wallach, Department of Computer Science, Rice University, November 1, 2004
Judge Bars Challengers From Polling Places
Democrats, Republicans and other groups cannot have representatives at the polls in Ohio on Election Day to challenge voters’ eligibility, two federal judges ruled today. The Ohio Republican Party, which filed to intervene in the cases, called the ruling erroneous and said it would appeal the decision to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
— Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch, November 1, 2004
In Lake County, Ohio, officials say at least a handful of voters have reported receiving a notice on phony board of elections letterhead saying that anyone who had registered through a variety of Democratic-leaning groups would not be allowed to vote this year.
— Kate Zernike & William Yardley, The New York Times, November 1, 2004
Resources Set Up to Assist Voters
Procedures in place to prevent problems, Ohio officials say
More than 5.7 million Ohio voters live in areas that still have the infamous punch-card ballots — nearly 72 percent of the state’s voting population. It’s the highest percentage in any presidential battleground state and second only to Utah.
— Jon Craig, The Columbus Dispatch, November 1, 2004
In a sleek law firm conference room 19 stories above Park Avenue last Thursday night, the subject was where people wanted to go to monitor elections this week. A few hands shot up for Florida, and more for Pennsylvania. But while Florida may still be the marquee name in election mismanagement, Ohio is where most people wanted to be on Nov. 2. The most inscrutable of all the swing states, it’s where the Republicans have filed objections to 35,000 new voter registrations and are sending 3,600 poll challengers, mainly to heavily minority precincts that tend to produce Democratic votes. The law students and lawyers in the Midtown law offices, volunteers for a group called Election Protection, wanted to be there, too, pushing in the opposite direction.
— Adam Cohen, The New York Times, November 1, 2004
Elections Director Welcomes Spotlight
Damschroder gets bipartisan praise for his leadership
If everything goes well Tuesday, this will be the last you read about Matthew Damschroder for a while. If chaos rules, the nation could get to know him mighty fast. Damschroder’s first presidential election as director of the Franklin County Board of Elections also happens to be one in which Ohio and Columbus could end up holding the keys to the White House.
— Robert Vitale, The Columbus Dispatch, November 1, 2004
Voters Double Up in Florida and Ohio
CLEVELAND — Thousands of people who are registered voters in Ohio and Florida possibly could vote twice in the presidential election through use of absentee ballots, The Plain Dealer reported Sunday.
— Herald Wire Services, as reported in The Miami Herald, November 1, 2004
DES MOINES, Oct. 31 — With both parties fiercely focused on getting their likely backers out to vote in Iowa on Tuesday, a new poll suggests that President Bush’s support in this battleground state waned last week. The tight race here could slip into legal warfare as soon as 6 a.m. Monday, when election officials in numerous counties begin unwrapping completed absentee ballots in preparation for counting. Starting then, Republican leaders said, they will challenge any ballots cast by Democrats who they suspect were ineligible to vote. Democrats say they will be out in force to protect any votes from being unfairly tossed out.
— Michael Moss, The New York Times, November 1, 2004
GOP, City Reach Deal on Voter List
Poll workers could challenge 5,512
Republican and City of Milwaukee leaders reached an agreement Sunday ending a faceoff over thousands of registered voters with questionable addresses. Under the agreement, a list of 5,512 prospective city voters whose addresses are questionable will be distributed to polling places. Those on the list who show up to vote will be asked to fill out a change of address card or registration form, and to show proof of residency — a driver’s license, utility bill or some other document showing an address — before casting their ballot.
— Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 1, 2004
The dangers of litigating the election
On the eve of an election in a great nation trying to sell the idea of democracy to the rest of the world, it is a scandal that so many Americans are wondering whether judges and lawyers — not voters — will decide the outcome. It is a scandal that one side suspects the other of trying to depress turnout in the name of fighting fraud. It is a scandal that all this talk of a disputed election may discourage some voters from going to the polls. It is a scandal that we have taken a basic act of citizenship and turned it into a complicated, litigated, chad-infested, technologically convoluted and anxiety-ridden act.
— E. J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post, October 31,2004
Election officials express dismay at extent of misinformation, variety of tricks targeting voters
As if things weren’t complicated enough, here comes the dirt. Registered voters who have been somehow unregistered. Democrats who suddenly find they’ve been re-registered as Republicans. A flier announcing that Election Day has been extended through Wednesday.
— Jo Becker & David Finkel, The Washington Post, October 31, 2004
Constitutional Scholar Expects ‘Chaos’ at N.J. Polls
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know this is a too-close-to-call presidential race in a too-close-to-call state where thousands of people lined up for hours to register to vote for the first time in their lives. Let’s just say a lot can happen Tuesday.
— Amy Klein, The Bergen Record, November 1, 2004
WARREN, Me. — John Barczak has had a lot of time to think about what he wants in a president. In a sense, he has had nothing but time. Mr. Barczak is spending at least 35 years in a maximum security prison for committing a double murder.
— Pam Belluck, The New York Times, November 1, 2004
Feds Eye Hispanic vote
Because of the recent surge in Hispanic voters across Long Island, federal monitors will be deployed to polling places throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties tomorrow. The U.S. Department of Justice is sending the monitors in an effort to protect all citizens’ right to vote.
— New York Daily News, November 1, 2004
Civil rights groups accuse Republicans of trying to disenfranchise minorities
Republicans yesterday continued to challenge the validity of tens of thousands of voter registrations in Ohio and other key states in the presidential election while a coalition of civil rights and labor groups sued the GOP, contending the Republican efforts were aimed at removing eligible minority voters from the rolls.
— Jo Becker, The Washington Post, October 29, 2004
MIAMI, Oct. 28 — The woman in the puffy pink gown waving a wand and a “Glenda the Bad Witch” sign at a rally last week was but one reminder: Glenda E. Hood, Florida’s secretary of state, is not winning many popularity contests these days.
— Abby Goodnough, The New York Times, October 29, 2004
GOP Calls 925 Felons Illegal Voters
The Republican Party of Florida drew up its own list of felons it says are ineligible to vote. The party could use the information to contest election results if they are close again in Florida.
TALLAHASSEE — Foreshadowing a possible challenge of voters on Election Day or in court soon after, Florida’s Republican Party said Thursday that it believes nearly 1,000 illegal voters plan to cast ballots this year.
— Gary Fineout, The Miami Herald, October 29, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 28 — Ohio was a confusing patchwork of litigation and election board hearings on Thursday as Democratic and Republican lawyers waged courtroom battles from Cincinnati to Newark, N.J., over the rights of tens of thousands of Ohioans to cast ballots next week.
— James Dao & Ford Fessenden, The New York Times, October 29, 2004
The balloting is still days away, but in Ohio the lawyers already had their day in court
CINCINNATI — The Democrats say they have 10,000 lawyers coast-to-coast to guarantee access to the polls, and here are three of them right now, thumbing their BlackBerrys, jabbing at cell phones, pacing the hallway outside Room 829 of the U.S. District Court.
— Ann Gerhart, The Washington Post, October 29, 2004
Ballots Cast in Wrong Place Won’t Be Counted
DES MOINES — Iowa election officials will not count ballots cast in the wrong precincts on election night, but will set them aside in the event of a lawsuit seeking to determine their legality, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said Thursday.
— Associated Press, as reported in The Iowa City Press-Citizen, October 29, 2004
Counties Check Eligibility of Inmates to Vote
Some election officials are scrambling to make sure people serving misdemeanor sentences in county jails do not vote by absentee ballot before Tuesday. State law prohibits people who are serving a sentence in prison or jail or who are on parole from registering or voting, and elections officials are working with state corrections and Denver County Jail officials to determine who is and is not eligible.
— Arthur Kane, The Denver Post, October 29, 2004
One of the most disturbing, even destabilizing, aspects of the presidential election is the prospect that partisans on either side will deem the outcome invalid if their candidate doesn’t win. Republicans are warning of massive fraud by new registrants not entitled to vote, while Democrats complain of an organized program to intimidate and disenfranchise eligible voters. The tension between preventing fraud and ensuring access is inherent in every election. But the expected closeness of this one, combined with the lingering bruises of the 2000 race, the record number of newly enrolled voters and the added uncertainties posed by a new federal law, have ratcheted that inevitable conflict to a new level.
— The Washington Post, October 29, 2004
FairVote: The Center for Voting and Democracy is dedicated to fair elections that promote participation and inclusive representation.
A record number of people are voting in advance, putting a strain on election officials, who doubt their work will be done Tuesday.
A record wave of early voting promises to cut crowding on election day, but the trend has also front-loaded this year’s election with problems — long lines at early-voting stations, missing absentee ballots and controversy over retooled rules for early balloting.
— Maria L. La Ganga & James Rainey, The Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2004
A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan — possibly in violation of US law — to disrupt voting in the state’s African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals.
Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign’s national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called “caging list”.
— Greg Palast, BBC Night News, October 26, 2004
Missing Ballots to Be Remailed
Broward County’s election office is resending about 76,000 absentee ballots to voters who say they asked for but still haven’t received them, an ominous sign of voting problems just days before the nation again sets its eyes on Florida.
— Ericka Bolstad, Gary Fineout & Amy Sherman, The Miami Herald, October 28, 2004
Advocates Fear Voting Glitches, So Be Prepared
Despite new laws and millions of dollars in upgrades, voting rights advocates fear that small errors could plague Tuesday’s election. Here is a guide for those headed to the polls.
The goal: Make the vote foolproof. Kill off bad chads and butterflies. Add 14 more days to vote. Give voters just one thing they absolutely must get right: finding their precinct, where they can cast a ballot even if they forget an ID and registration card. And if they stumble to the wrong place, poll workers have orders to steer them right.
— Curtis Morgan & Gary Fineout, The Miami Herald, October 28, 2004
Gov. Bush: Poll Watchers Can, Should Challenge Voters
His remarks come amid concerns that excessive scrutiny may put a damper on the election.
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Jeb Bush said Wednesday he would have no problem if Republican poll watchers challenge the eligibility of voters before they cast ballots on Election Day, despite growing concern that it could create gridlock and scare away qualified voters.
— Joni James & Tamara Lush, The St. Petersberg Times, October 28, 2004
KENDALL, Fla., Oct. 27 — It is as if the presidential election of 2000 never ended here. Six days before Election Day, Florida is again struggling with questions about potential voting irregularities, from complaints about missing absentee ballots in Broward County and accusations of voter suppression in minority neighborhoods to concerns about new touch-screen voting machines. Floridians have been standing for as long as three hours to cast early votes in the presidential race, testimony to the unresolved passions of the election of 2000. Interest is so intense that analysts predict that a staggering 75 percent of Florida voters will cast ballots by the time polls close Tuesday evening.
— Adam Nagourney & Abby Goodnough, The New York Times, October 28, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 27 — A federal judge on Wednesday blocked six boards of elections in Ohio from proceeding with hearings into Republican-initiated efforts to knock tens of thousands of registered voters off the voting rolls.
— James Dao, The New York Times, October 28, 2004
Voter Challenges Halted
A federal judge yesterday issued a temporary order preventing elections boards in Franklin and five other counties from hearing challenges that the Ohio GOP had filed against thousands of newly registered voters.
— Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch, October 28, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 26 — J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio’s secretary of state, likes to tell a story about the elderly woman who approached him at a church function the other day: “She said, ‘I’m saying two prayers for you,'” recalled Blackwell, with a deep, rolling laugh. “‘The first is that you do the right thing. The other is, for your sake, I’m praying that this election is a blowout.'”
— Paul Farhi, The Washington Post, October 27, 2004
Twelve Ways Bush Is Now Stealing the Ohio Vote
The Republican “November Surprise” to steal the 2004 election is in full force here in Ohio. With polls showing a dead heat, the GOP is staging an all-out attack on a fair vote count in the Buckeye State.
— Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, The Free Press, as reported on commondreams.org, October 27, 2004
Iowa Provisional Ballot Lawsuit Declined
DES MOINES, Iowa — A judge declined to rule Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Republican voters challenging a decision that allows Iowans to cast provisional ballots outside of their home precincts. He said the challenge was premature.
— Associated Press, as reported in The Washington Post, October 27, 2004
Pa. Soldiers File Ballot Action
The two seek a federal court order extending the deadline for overseas tallies to be received, counted.
HARRISBURG — Two soldiers from Pennsylvania serving abroad filed a motion in federal court yesterday to force the state to accept overseas absentee ballots received after Tuesday’s election.
— Mario F. Cattabiani & Stephan Salisbury, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 28, 2004
In Chester County, It’s Chad’s Last Stand
11 others also use the punch-card ballots, which Pa. will retire after this year.
With chad boxes empty, ballot books printed, and styluses set, Chester County is about to launch its final presidential election using the now-notorious punch-card ballot. Officials say they’re ready… This year, with Pennsylvania a swing state in a tight presidential race, the punch-card ballot systems of Chester and the other 10 counties that use them — the same method that caused an uproar in Florida four years ago — could be scrutinized as never before.
— Nancy Peterson, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 28, 2004
Maine’s Election Day Registration Rare in U.S.
As Election Day approaches, registered voters might be feeling like the most popular kid in school. Pollsters are dying to know their opinion, and campaigns are calling, filling the mailbox or knocking on the door.
— Chris Churchill, The Morning Sentinel, October 28, 2004
Each party seeks a legal edge in close states as provisional ballots, new voters become issues.
In the presidential election of 2000, lawyers did not become central players until after the polls were closed. This time, they are not.
— Henry Weinstein, The Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2004
In trying to fix problems that arose in the 2000 presidential election, Congress may have created an impediment to a quick resolution in 2004 and set the stage for major election lawsuits.
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 allows voters whose names cannot be found on local rolls to cast provisional ballots, with election officials making a decision later about whether the vote should count. Election lawyers now say that those ballots could determine the outcome in a handful of states where the presidential race is expected to be extremely close.
— Adam Liptak, The New York Times, October 27, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 25 — Democrats and Republicans here traded accusations of voter fraud, obstruction and intimidation Monday as officials grappled with what is becoming a confused — and potentially chaotic — presidential election in this critical battleground state.
— Paul Farhi & Jo Becker, The Washington Post, October 26, 2004
Elections Boards Face Suit
GOP may seek court action if challenges of new voters continue to be rejected
The Ohio Republican Party is threatening to sue county elections boards that reject GOP voter challenges because they were not properly filed, even as Democrats are saying all the challenges should be dismissed.
— Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch, October 26, 2004
Five in Iowa Sue Over Ballots
Suit seeks to prevent votes from counting
Iowa’s election laws were thrown into the court system Monday when five Des Moines-area Republicans sued election officials in an effort to prevent ballots from being accepted from voters who go to the wrong precinct. With the lawsuit, Republicans are challenging the opinion of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat who said Friday that Iowans who vote in the correct county but wrong precinct should have their votes for president and Congress counted.
— Lynn Campbell, The Des Moines Register, October 26, 2004
Democrats say the GOP aims to disenfranchise the poor and minorities. Republicans counter with claims of voter registration fraud.
MILWAUKEE — The vast open rotunda soared above them as they waited by the hundreds to register and cast absentee ballots inside City Hall, the 19th century landmark modeled after a long-forgotten Dutch guildhall. It was a predominantly African American crowd, and people sang “We Shall Overcome.”
— Peter Wallsten, Ken Silverstein & Elizabeth Shogren, The Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2004
Gov. Bush Defends State Voting System After Criticism
Charges of partisanship against state elections officials, fraud allegations and a flurry of lawsuits have put Gov. Jeb Bush on the defensive.
TALLAHASSEE — With a week to go until Election Day, Gov. Jeb Bush could be devoting all his energy to helping his brother win reelection in a pivotal state with a polarized electorate. Instead, the popular governor finds himself wrestling with the curse of 2000: defending the integrity of the elections system.
— Mary Ellen Klas, The Miami Herald, October 26, 2004
U.S. Voters Have Doubts About Nov. 2 Election Process
Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) — U.S. voters are skeptical about the balloting process in the U.S. presidential race and doubt there will be a clear winner the day after the Nov. 2 election, a new poll by the Associated Press shows.
— Bloomberg.com, October 26, 2004
Citing incidents of violence at Bush campaign offices around the country, Republicans are asserting Democratic partisans have deliberately tried to intimidate voters, potentially storing ammunition for future arguments about the fairness of the election.
— David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, October 26, 2004
The 2000 election left many voters feeling disenfranchised, frustrated millions more and tarnished the image of American democracy at home and abroad. The United States Supreme Court’s decision to intervene (for the first time in history) in a presidential election, ordering Florida election officials to stop counting votes and effectively determining the winner, troubled legal scholars and average citizens alike.
— David Boies, The New York Times, October 26, 2004
Presidential elections are not always decided on Election Day. In 1800, the election produced an Electoral College tie, resolved after seven contentious days in the House of Representatives in favor of Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr on the 36th ballot. The 1876 election took several months and the creation of a special commission consisting of members of Congress and Supreme Court justices before Rutherford B. Hayes prevailed over Samuel Tilden by a single vote in the Electoral College.
— Theodore B. Olson, The New York Times, October 26, 2004
Charges fly as parties dispute registration of Hispanics in state’s arid south
ROSWELL, N.M. — On the north end of town, where the Anglos live, people lined up in large numbers Saturday at the Roswell Mall to take advantage of the early voting site there. But down on the south side, in the Hispanic neighborhood, the designated early voting venue was locked up tight — closed for the weekend.
— T. R. Reid, The Washington Post, October 25, 2004
Security, recount questions persist as states adopt paperless balloting
Electronic voting systems that were touted as the solution to the paper ballots and hanging chads of the 2000 presidential election have become a new source of controversy as experts debate the reliability of software that operates the new systems, whether local election officials have the technical competence to run them and how there can be a recount on machines that keep no paper record of votes cast on them.
— Dan Keating, The Washington Post, October 25, 2004
Record numbers of Americans abroad have registered, but bureaucratic snafus may prevent many from actually voting
Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat is pumped. Two weeks ago, sitting in an internet cafe on Munich’s Odeonplatz, the software marketer who crafted a hugely successful voter registration website, pulls up numbers that show a remarkable spike in Americans overseas mobilising to defeat George W Bush. Between her site and another out of Hong Kong, Democrats have registered 140,000 new voters, 40% of them from swing states — and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Americans abroad, roused to a boiling fury by a Bush doctrine that has smeared America’s good name across the globe, are looking like the “silent swing vote” in several key battleground states. Overseas registration for both parties is up by 400% over 2000; estimates put the tally of possible civilian votes as high as 2 million.
— Alix Christie, The Guardian (U.K.), October 25, 2004
Blacks’ Votes Will Count, Edwards Vows at Ohio Stops
CINCINNATI — Reaching out to a voting bloc considered key to a Democratic presidential victory, Sen. John Edwards yesterday promised that black Americans would not be denied their right to vote.
— Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch, October 25, 2004
Election Officials Happy Now That Provisional-Ballot Issue Is Put to Bed
Ohio GOP withdraws thousands of challenges to new registrants
Election officials expressed relief yesterday that they have a final court ruling about handling provisional ballots in Ohio, giving them a week before the election to eliminate confusion among poll workers and voters.
— Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch, October 25, 2004
Touch-Screen Danger: Slow Voting, Long Lines
Early-voting patterns suggest that the time it takes voters to cast ballots on touch-screen machines will be critical to a smooth Election Day.
If voters on Election Day spend the same amount of time casting ballots as some early voters have, South Florida polling places could be overwhelmed Nov. 2 with long lines that drag into the night, frustrated voters and delays in reporting election returns. The Herald spent two days in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties observing more than 400 voters at several early-voting sites.
— Joe Mozingo, The Miami Herald, October 25, 2004
Legal Eagle Eyes Watch the Polls
Lawyers of all stripes have descended upon Florida. Some are looking for trouble. Others are looking for votes.
Four years ago, Suzanne Hollander was in law school. She can’t remember whether she voted in the presidential election. This time around, her life revolves around little else. As a member of the Democrat-leaning “Election Protection” squad, the Miami corporate lawyer has joined thousands of juris doctorates from all political persuasions who have descended on the state, ready to argue and file legal motions to ensure the rights of voters — at least those who favor their candidates.
— Sara Olkon, The Miami Herald, October 25, 2004
Training Varies for Election Judges
The estimated 16,000 Coloradans training as election judges are learning to run polling places in ways that vary dramatically between counties. Disparities could lead to confusion on Election Day and trigger lawsuits challenging the results of tight races.
— Susan Greene, The Denver Post, October 24, 2004
Blackwell’s Provisional Ballot Rules Reinstated
Appeals court agrees that votes must be cast in correct precinct
CINCINNATI — A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that any provisional ballots Ohio voters cast outside their own precincts should not be counted, throwing out a lower-court decision that said such ballots are valid as long as they are cast in the correct county.
— Associated Press, as reported in The Columbus Dispatch, October 24, 2004
In Florida, voter registrations are being thrown out on pointless technicalities. Missouri is telling soldiers to send nonsecret ballots by e-mail through a Pentagon contractor with a troubling past. Nationwide, eligible voters are being removed from the rolls by flawed felon purges. And nearly a third of this year’s votes will be cast on highly questionable electronic voting machines. No wonder a large percentage of Americans doubt that their votes will count. The election system is crying out for reform.
— The New York Times, October 24, 2004
Voters Found on Both N.C., S.C. Rolls
Miscount, fraud possible as election officials not cross-checking lists
As many as 60,000 voters may be registered to cast ballots in both Carolinas — and officials aren’t checking. That’s one of the flaws discovered by a Charlotte Observer/WCNC 6News investigation of voter registration records in both states that could lead to miscounting or even voter fraud.
— Scott Dodd & Ted Mellnik, The Charlotte Observer, October 24, 2004
Provisional votes may take a month
Anticipating large numbers of “provisional ballots” that cannot be counted Nov. 2, Washington County’s elections director said he feared there might be a month’s delay in determining the winner of the presidential race or other close contests in Pennsylvania.
— Joe Smydo, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 24, 2004
America Votes — Analysis: A Margin of Victory? Try Instead a Margin of Litigation
Don’t necessarily assume that we will all bid farewell to the bitter presidential election on the first Tuesday in November. On the contrary, we may well be careening toward another protracted denouement — and a fresh round of hard questions about the credibility of the American voting system.
— Dick Polman, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 24, 2004
WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 (AP) — The Supreme Court refused on Saturday to place the independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot in Pennsylvania, upholding a state court’s finding of flawed signatures on voter petition sheets.
— Associated Press, as reported in The New York Times, October 24, 2004
Widespread errors likely without help, election officials say
Forget about glitchy electronic voting machines. Never mind confusing ballot designs and hanging chads. The biggest problem in next month’s election could turn out to be a shortage of well-trained poll workers that leads to widespread mistakes at polling booths, according to federal election officials.
— Jo Becker, The Washington Post, October 23, 2004
GOP Challenges Voters
Party questions validity of thousands in Ohio
In yet another sign of how fiercely Ohio will be contested in the Nov. 2 presidential election, Republicans challenged 35,427 newly registered voters yesterday. And both parties named thousands of people to be challengers at the polls.
— Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch, October 23, 2004
Court Should Respect Ohio’s Policy on Ballots, Justice Department Says
Ohio has the right to decide whether provisional ballots should be counted if they are cast in the wrong precinct, the U.S. Justice Department said in legal arguments filed yesterday.
— Mark Niquette, The Columbus Dispatch, October 23, 2004
‘Too Late to Register’ Signs Being Replaced, Clarified
State officials moved Friday to replace notices at more than 200 driver’s license examining stations and vehicle tab agencies throughout Minnesota that they said could discourage people from voting.
— Conrad Defiebre, Star Tribune, October 23, 2004
Republican Party officials in Ohio took formal steps yesterday to place thousands of recruits inside polling places on Election Day to challenge the qualifications of voters they suspect are not eligible to cast ballots.
— Michael Moss, The New York Times, October 23, 2004
If the election were held today and the votes were counted fairly, Senator John Kerry would probably win. But the votes won’t be counted fairly, and the disenfranchisement of minority voters may determine the outcome.
— Paul Krugman, The New York Times, October 22, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In this humid Southern capital, Florida Secretary of State Glenda E. Hood is feeling the political heat. Lawsuits allege she has disenfranchised poor and minority voters. Critics claim that she’s creating a partisan atmosphere.
— John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2004
Republicans charged yesterday that the Kerry campaign, the Democratic Party, labor unions and other groups have organized a get-out-the-vote operation in Florida that violates federal campaign finance law.
— Thomas B. Edsall, The Washington Post, October 22, 2004
Florida Forms Task Force to Combat Voter Fraud
TALLAHASSEE — With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced that it was launching a statewide investigation into widespread allegations of voter fraud. FDLE officials said Thursday that the investigation was aimed primarily at looking into incidents where voter registration signatures and information were forged, whether party affiliations were changed without consent, and whether false information was used to obtain absentee ballots.
— Gary Fineout, The Miami Herald, October 22, 2004
Election Chief Warns of Absentee Scam
Pasco elections officials have a warning for the county’s absentee voters: Don’t give your ballot to a stranger claiming to be from the elections office.
— Stephen Hegarty, St. Petersberg Times, October 22, 2004
Voters Report Fake Calls: Instructions to Change Polling Place Don’t Come From Board of Elections
The caller interrupting a North Side couple’s dinner earlier this week said he was from the Franklin County Board of Elections. He told the elderly woman that her voting site had changed and that on Nov. 2 she and her husband should cast their ballots at a South Side precinct. The caller even left the phone number of the board.
— Suzanne Hoholik, The Columbus Dispatch, October 22, 2004
Davidson Sets Rules for Poll Monitoring
Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson laid down the law for poll watchers Thursday, saying she may not let them use cell phones, she’ll enforce secrecy, and if more than one shows up per precinct, she’ll show them the door. Poll watchers are those people — most often lawyers — at ground zero for each political party on Election Day, calling in problems, turnout and results. They have become an integral part of the process since the voting debacle in Florida in 2000.
— Peggy Lowe, The Rocky Mountain News, October 22, 2004
Privacy Prompts Voter Suit
Serial numbers on ballots worry Boulder County residents
When elections get close, voters get nervous. In Boulder County, a group of citizens worried about privacy filed suit Thursday to protest the planned use of individually numbered paper ballots.
— David Ollinger, The Denver Post, October 22, 2004
Dope-y Voter Trickery Transfers
The saga of Pennsylvania college students who thought they were signing a petition to legalize medical marijuana but were instead duped into changing their voter registration to Republican is getting weirder and weirder.
— William Bunch, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 22, 2004
WASHINGTON — Ralph Nader asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to place him on the general election ballot in Pennsylvania, a battleground state expected to be key in the outcome of the Nov. 2 presidential election. In a sign the high court planned to move swiftly, Justice David Souter immediately requested that Pennsylvania officials file a response to Nader’s emergency request by 2:30 p.m. today.
— Associated Press, as reported in The Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2004
Bowing to pressure from both political parties, the Pentagon says it will post on its Web site a federal write-in ballot that civilian and military voters alike can use overseas if their regular ballots fail to arrive in time.
— Michael Moss, The New York Times, October 21, 2004
NORTH CANTON, Ohio, Oct. 20 (AP) — Sagging performance and mounting legal costs in its electronic voting segment kept third-quarter earnings nearly flat at Diebold Inc., the company said Wednesday.
— Associated Press, as reported in The New York Times, October 21, 2004
Mail-In Votes Count, If John Hancock Says So
Even as new glitches pop up, Oregon’s ballot system relies on a time-tested safeguard to prevent fraud: the voter’s signature. Holly Winter, a Willamette University freshman voting in her first election, received three ballots in the mail this week, all identically addressed to her
— Harry Esteve, The Oregonian, October 21, 2004
With another close presidential contest in store, that hardy if indecipherable oddity of American politics, the electoral college, is back in the news. My esteemed colleague William Raspberry has lent his powerful voice to those who for decades have railed against the injustice of the unit rule, which gives all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who wins a plurality from its voters.
— David S. Broder, The Washington Post, October 21, 2004
WASHINGTON — SINCE the 1960’s, the exit poll, that staple of election-night television, has been used along with other tools to declare winners when the polls close in each state, and its accuracy is noted later when the actual vote count proves it right. A landmark exception, of course, came in 2000, when the networks initially gave the decisive Florida vote to Al Gore.
— Martin Plissner, The New York Times, October 17, 2004