Round-up of reported election failures, so far, in CT, NC, GA, TX, AL...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2014, 3:58pm PT  

Zach Roth and Trymaine Lee of MSNBC highlight a number of the problems at the polls being reported so far in various states today.

"Voters in Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Alabama and other states all encountered potentially serious problems casting ballots as Americans went to the polls Tuesday," they report. "The issues included malfunctioning machines that caused long lines, problems with statewide voter registration systems, missing voter lists, and delays processing voter registration applications. Meanwhile, voter ID laws and other strict voting measures kept others from even attempting to make it to the polls."

Here are the key portions of their problem reports from each of those states...

CONNECTICUT:

Connecticut was among the hardest hit Tuesday, according to reports. Lawyers for Gov. Daniel Malloy asked a judge to keep Hartford polling places open for extended hours after a slew of issues kept voters from casting their ballots at at least four sites. One site had no monitors. At another 23 polling places, registration books did not arrive in time.
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"They didn't distribute any voter lists to any of the locations before 6 a.m. ET and it took almost two hours to get it all resolved," said Av Harris, a spokesman for the Connecticut Secretary of State. The lists are usually distributed at 5 a.m. ET.

Roth and Lee report most of the problems in CT have now been smoothed out, though that won't account for voters who were unable to cast a ballot this morning before going to work when the systems were down.

TEXAS:

In Texas, where a strict voter ID law is in place for the first time in a major election, the state emailed counties Tuesday morning to inform them that the statewide voter registration system was down. According to Janice Evans, elections director for Brazoria County, it remained down at noon local time. That meant poll workers were unable to access information about a voter's registration status, likely leading many voters to have to cast provisional ballots.

A spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office said: "It's one less option for voters to find their polling place. It's now working intermittently."

And of course, a large but unknown number of voters will be disenfranchised by the ID law. Several Texans spoke to msnbc Monday about the massive bureaucratic hurdles they went through as they tried unsuccessfully to get ID.

Here in Harris County, the state's largest county, machines at several polling places weren't working. At the West Gray site near downtown Houston, where only two machines were working for much of the morning, some voters said they waited an hour and a quarter to cast a ballot. Another nearby site was down entirely for the first hour of voting due to electrical problems. Maureen Haver, an election protection activist with Common Cause Texas, said voters who had to leave because of the delay weren't offered the chance to cast a provisional ballot.

So not only is the state GOP's new "purposefully discriminatory" and "unconstitutional" polling place Photo ID restrictions (according to the federal judge who struck down the state's law after a full trial) causing problems for voters as expected and reported here and here, the 100% unverifiable electronic voting systems used in Harris (Houston), a Democratic stronghold in the state, went down, leaving voters without the ability to vote at all.

The BRAD BLOG has long called for a) Getting rid of the 100% unverifiable voting systems that counties like Harris continue to use (for many reasons, this being just one of them) and b) Emergency paper ballots for all voters at all precincts so that when this happens, as it has consistently over the years in many states and counties, voters can still vote! Despite legislation being introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate to require Emergency Paper Ballots in response to our advocacy in 2006, the legislation was ignored by Republicans and never passed through either chamber.

GEORGIA:

Last week, we briefly covered the problems in Georgia where a progressive voter registration drive resulted in more than 100,000 new registrations in the Peach State, but where the Republican Sec. of State was simply denying charges that some 50,000 of those registrations never made it into the system. That problem --- and others related to it --- are undermining voters and election integrity in the state today...

Meanwhile in Georgia, thousands of voters were left in limbo and unsure whether they can cast a ballot because the secretary of state's office failed to process approximately 40,000 applications in time. A voter registration group sued the state to force it to act, but the suit was dismissed last month.

Making the problem worse, the secretary of state's website was not working for much of the morning, leaving voters unable to access information about their registration status and polling place. Election Protection, a group that monitors voting problems, said it had received reports that voters have not been able to reach their board of elections.

"This is completely unacceptable, especially in light of the unprocessed registrations in major counties and voter concerns about participating in this critical election," said Lawyers' Committee President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine. "The state of Georgia had a responsibility to ensure that their website and phone resources were operational and available to voters at all times, yet the website continues to have ongoing problems."

The full statement from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law about the outrages in GA is posted here.

NORTH CAROLINA:

And in North Carolina, which passed its own a restrictive voting law last year, the wrong voter rolls were sent to a polling site just down the street from Bennett College, a historically black college in Greensboro, poll monitors said. For a couple hours, monitors said the proper rolls hadn't arrived, so voters were allowed to vote but it's unclear if they were able to cast ballots or vote provisionally.

In Boone, near Appalachian State University, poll monitors reported that some people were yelling at voters that they needed ID to vote. In fact, the state's voter ID provision doesn't take effect until 2016. And according to local news reports, two precincts in Cumberland County received the wrong thumb drives for the voting machines that were sent.

There was also evidence of the problems caused by a provision of the state's voting law that bans out-of-precinct voting, which used to be allowed in North Carolina. A video posted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows black voters expressing confusion after being told they couldn't vote at the site they went to, despite having been able to do so in the past.

African-American voters are crucial to Democratic chances in close Senate races in Georgia and North Carolina.

The problems in North Carolina come on top of recent reports of votes flipping on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems many voters are still forced to use in the Tar Heel State. The reports there, to date, have concerned votes flipping from the Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan to her Republican challenger Tom Tillis.

ALABAMA:

We covered this disturbing new development in AL earlier today, but here is the key portion of Roth and Lee's additional reporting on this...

An Alabama county notified a 92-year old woman Monday that her absentee ballot wouldn't count because her public housing ID isn't allowed under the law, according to Deuel Ross, a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The woman has been voting at least since the 1960's, her daughter told Ross.

The NAACP argues such IDs should be allowed because housing officers are acting as federal agents. The law says any photo ID issued by the state or the U.S. is acceptable. But a lawyer for the Alabama secretary of state's office told Ross in an email Monday that it's the state's policy not to accept public housing IDs.
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"It's really disappointing to be encountering voters who are ready and able to vote. who are being turned away because they lack voter ID, when they've voted in the past with a public housing ID," Ross said.

There are many more such problems being reported around the country tonight. The ones above are just from the excellent round-up today (so far) by Roth and Lee.

And...just a very quick reminder: The bulk of problems in elections often don't begin to reveal themselves until after the election, often days, weeks (or even longer) afterwards. So, stay tuned as these problems, wherever they are, begin to come to light...

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