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Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:05 AM

Was anyone else poll-watching Tuesday? I have some concerns....

I am greatly concerned about the number of people who came to the small polling place (1484 registered voters) where I was working
and who were UNABLE to vote. Our poll judge was on the phone the entire day. Funny things are happening when people move and
attempt to change their polling places....only one member of each family was given the change of polling place, time after time after time. We had to tell the other family members that, at 630 at night, they needed to drive to other counties to vote because Pennsylvania 'dropped the ball'. (A provisional ballot must be done in the county of registration, so we were unable to help them vote.) Did Pennsylvania drop the ball? Or bury it?

At least one other voter was simply dropped from the rolls between the primary and the general for no apparent reason.

Also, I saw at least 15 young people who wanted to vote turned away because, somehow, they didn't know they had to register to vote and should get a voter ID card in the mail to confirm this. I find this astonishing given all the efforts at voter registration over the past 8 years here in York, but it clearly shows that the job is never over.

Overall, at least 1.5% of the people who wanted to vote, could not vote last Tuesday. In a close election, 1.5% is all it takes to win or lose.


We need to get the word out, everyone of us, to everyone, that everyone over 18 needs to have the actual voter ID registration card in their hands at least 40 days before the next election. We need to refocus efforts before the next election on voter registration again, preferably with some sytematized, ongoing basis. And we need to hold the current government of Pennsylvania responsible for this mess and insure that it is cleaned up. I myself would be delighted to work with some type of group of volunteers who would work with say, real estate agents or using sold listings in the paper, to register people on an ongoing monthly basis AND follow up to insure that they DO get voter ID cards.

I need ideas on how to work with the large percentage of our rental population that moves rather frequently.

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Reply Was anyone else poll-watching Tuesday? I have some concerns.... (Original post)
DebJ Nov 2012 OP
Ednahilda Nov 2012 #1
DebJ Nov 2012 #3
Curmudgeoness Nov 2012 #2
DebJ Nov 2012 #4
Mc Mike Nov 2012 #5
JPZenger Nov 2012 #6
Mc Mike Nov 2012 #9
Ednahilda Nov 2012 #10
DebJ Nov 2012 #8
Mc Mike Nov 2012 #11
Curmudgeoness Nov 2012 #12
Mc Mike Nov 2012 #13
DebJ Nov 2012 #7

Response to DebJ (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 01:02 PM

1. From my sister, who worked the polls in NE Penna:

The BIGGEST problem by far was the number of people who came to the wrong polling place because of screw-ups by the local election board. All of the ubiquitous rural route addresses in the county have been replaced by street names and house numbers to comply with the regulations of E-9-1-1. As a result, many, many people had their polling places changed and it seemed willy-nilly (remember, these people were living in the same physical location), perhaps a poorly-conceived computer program? Sis said that people would bring their voter registration cards which clearly listed her polling location as their voting place, only to discover that the voter was not in the sign-in book. A call to the county election office showed that the location listed on the official voter card was incorrect and poll workers were able to direct the voter to the proper polling place. As far as she witnessed, no one was denied a vote, but plenty of people had to drive to another location. And yes, she said that her judge of elections spent the day on the phone. For a good chunk of the day, however, the judge couldn't get through to the election office because of heavy phone traffic, so the judge used her smart phone to access the official voter listing and was able to address voters' problems satisfactorily that way. The turnout in this polling location was approximately the same as 2008, by the way.

The other source of screw-ups were the people who relied on PennDOT to forward their voter registration/change of address to the county election board. PennDOT is not exactly a paragon of efficiency in this matter. A word to the wise: if you have changed your voting registration or signed up to vote via the Department of Transportation in PA, PLEASE contact your county election board before the registration deadline (usually early October) to be absolutely sure you are on the voter rolls.

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Response to Ednahilda (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:20 AM

3. Thanks for the response. I forwarded

your information to our local party chairman.

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Response to DebJ (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:16 PM

2. I don't have many answers or suggestions,

but I do have a few.

First, the League of Women Voters might have a chapter in your area. If so, the League is always in need of more members who are willing to help with the work. I find that our chapter is aging and the people who are doing all the work are finding it harder and harder to keep up with it. New ideas and more younger members would help. We have just been discussing how we can educate the high school students who will be 18 soon.

That brings me to the second suggestion. I believe that the high schools would be willing to work with individuals or groups (like the county election director or the League) who would be willing to go to the schools and give information to the seniors about how to vote, what is needed to vote, how to register, the reasons voting is important to our democracy, etc.

I am sure that there are many other ways to educate and inform, but I think that getting access to students in school is one of the best ways.

As to rental populations and newcomers, I would focus on apartment complexes for GOTV efforts during the summer in plenty of time to register. And new homeowners to the area could be found in the real estate records of home sales...and I am sure they would appreciate having someone welcome them to the area. I remember Welcome Wagon used to do this, but I don't know what happened to that group.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:21 AM

4. Oh yes Welcome Wagon. My sister did that just a few years ago.

Thanks for your response!

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Response to DebJ (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:12 AM

5. Poll monitored with Election Protection in Pgh.

My own District (Ward 19, 28 district or precinct) has 627 registered, 2 machines, so your assessment of your poll as small seems like you're selling yourself short. We had 12,000 who voted in 19th ward, but there are 38 precincts.

My partner and I monitored Ward 10 District 12, 3, 13, 14, and Ward 25 District 1,2,3. Some voters were purged as inactive, since they failed to vote in off-year elections since '08. Whether that was the state's call and Allegheny County election officials acquiesced, or the county did it on their own, I don't know. I do know that my dad died in early November '02, and didn't vote in '02 through '06, but his name was still on the rolls when I went to vote in the '06 mid terms. They asked me if I was him or me, which was how I knew he was on the books still. I knew the Judge at the polling place (since I was 6, for over 40 years), and said they all knew he was dead, and they should remove him from the rolls. They expressed no interest in doing that, citing the difficulty of County elections bureaucatic procedures. I moved from 19, 1 to 19, 28, so I don't know if he's still registered there, but he was on the Ward list when I got the entire 19th ward printout from elections in March of '07.

But this election, a Ward 10 voter, a 35 year Master Chief Navy Vet, who voted last in '08, was cleared from the books. He wanted to vote in the same precinct as last time, still has the same address, but had to vote provisionally. He had gotten a Driver's license renewal since then, and requested the Moter Voter registration, but the state didn't come through. He never received his new voter reg card. A young guy from Ward 25, District 3 had the same Motor Voter reg problem, and had to vote provisionally.

There was a young couple who showed up late in the day to Ward 25, 1. The guy was the only white guy I saw at that poll, he wasn't registered to vote at all, showed his Driver's license and demanded to vote, really snotty. The Judge of elections called to look him up, but he admitted he never registered. She tried to give him a voter reg form, and he said 'I can do that on-line' and tossed it down on the table. I was there in a non-partisan capacity, but thought 'look at the little repug, his scales aren't even hardened yet, how cute'. The Judge of elections was hobbling around trying to help him (she's an elderly person who severely damaged her ankle running top-speed away from some gun-fire in the housing project where the poll is located), and he was (in my eyes) trying to prove that he was worthy of voting because 'he had an I.D.' He had to pretend to not understand he needed to register to vote, then said he knew he could register to vote on-line.

Neither of my stories helps with your original brainstorming request, I know, DJ. But there were cases where the officials dropped the ball, even when the voter did what they thought would get them the ballot. And there was a case where someone didn't do what they needed to do, and it looked like an attempt to catch poll worker 'election fraud'. What we can do about outreach to the mass of voters who just don't know all the rules, ins and outs of the voter reg system, I don't know. We need an automatic enfranchisement system nationally, instead of the patchwork disenfranchisement system that the repugs push.

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Response to Mc Mike (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 01:43 PM

6. Problems of people who had moved

The main problem I heard about concerned people who had moved, without changing their voter address. They showed up at the same polling place where they had voted previously. In the past, no one would have noticed that they had moved (within the same city). However, once they showed their ID, the poll workers told them they couldn't vote at the same location. They then got a run-around of where and how they could vote.

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Response to JPZenger (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:38 PM

9. The coalition of groups

(too many to mention, but NAACP LDF, Freedom Unlimited, Friends (Quakers), ACLU, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Common Cause, etc.) said that anyone who moved since the last election was legally supposed to be able to vote one more time at their old polling place. This didn't help with the person who last voted 3 elections previous, but he shouldn't have been wiped off the rolls if they hadn't registered him thru Motor Voter. I was also informed that the address on the I.D. didn't matter this time around, as long as it was the same person, photo, D.O. birth, signature, and an address discrepancy would only come into play to cause problems if the voter played along and showed the I.D. that they didn't legally have to show, for this election.

They keep trying to baffle Americans about the procedure to vote and their rights to vote, is the problem. The less the number of people who vote, the better repug candidates and causes do in an election.

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Response to JPZenger (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:55 PM

10. In Pennsylvania,

you are legally allowed to vote once in your old voting precinct following a recent move. I found this out in a flyer distributed by the League of Women Voters. They take a dim view of the voter ID laws and have all the info about voting laws in PA; check with them before the next election so you know all the rules.

Too bad these people didn't know that the voter ID you are asked to show is for identification purposes only . It is not to be used for address confirmation. They're only supposed to check your face against the face on the ID and make sure they match (or more-or-less match in the case of the pics taken by the fine photographers at PennDOT). Either those poll workers were poorly trained or they were intentionally hassling voters. The election may be over, but I'd still make a visit to the county election board and complain so these people can't get away with it again next time.

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Response to Mc Mike (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:10 PM

8. Thanks for the info! Regarding not voting in off-year elections:

1)I was told by people working the polls when I moved to Pennsylvania (in 2003), that the rule was that people were only removed
from the polls if they had not voted in the last TWO national elections, but that this rule was obviously not being enforced
because of the huge amount of people on the voting rolls that they knew had not voted in many elections.

2) This should be something that is clearly spelled out and known by everyone and shouldn't this be a statewide practice?

3) I checked out this state website, and couldn't find any mention of when voters are dropped from the rolls.
In fact, what it DOES say would indicate you are never dropped from the rolls:
"Once you have registered to vote, you are not required to register again unless you change your residence, name, or political party affiliation. "
Clearly, that is not true.

http://www.votespa.com/portal/server.pt/community/register_to_vote/13518



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Response to DebJ (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:41 PM

11. When I worked in the polls

we would get an 'inactive' notation in the district register (voter ledger binder), by the name of someone who had missed several elections. I didn't know how many they missed to get that designation. Sometimes it would say 'affirmation needed', and they'd sign an oath of 'Affirmation of Elector' form. The register sometimes would say 'signature required' in the binder, beside a copy of their signature that was on file, so we'd look at the signature that was facing us, and the one that they signed that faced them, and seeing two copies of the signature upside down from each other helped us verify the signature was the same. New voters always had 'show I.D.' by their name, but that could be the voter's new voter registration card, with their name and address on it.

I'd bet that Korbett's Keystone Kommandos were behind a lack of follow through on the motor voter registrations, and they knew who not to register based on the party the voter attempted to register in, but I don't know if they issued our County elections people a directive to cut from the rolls those who didn't exercise their rights in the last few local elections, or if they could consider the primary and final for Senate (Sestak - Toomey) as two national elections missed, since they were for a national office. If that was the case, then my dad missed '02 final, 04' primary and final, '06 primary and final, and still was on the rolls in '07, so the chief got ripped off.

Whatever the rules are, the repugs pick and choose which ones they'll enforce or violate, whatever is best for them. We need a national enfranchisement system in place.

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Response to Mc Mike (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 07:25 PM

12. The one sure thing that I have learned from this election is

DO NOT register to vote with the Motor Voter system.

Get a registration form, fill it out, and mail it in YOURSELF.

Also, we should be taking advantage of voter lists or online info to verify that people who think that they are registered are still showing up as registered.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 08:17 AM

13. Harrisburg can be a black hole in the best of times,

and now we have Corbett. Your advice is right. Going through County Elections is the best course.

If I.D. is mandatory next time, anyone that already has a legal form of I.D. should go through County elections to re-register, to make their voter reg name an exact match with their I.D., instead of a substantial match.

There were about 20 different groups who e-mailed me links to verify voter reg and polling place location and give voter rights protection advice. Without a high-tech phone or wireless internet device available on election day, I was forced to rely on OUR VOTE, the command center phone numbers in Freedom U and Friends, and the Law offices down town to give straying voters the right info. We all know our polling place and reg status, but there were over 100 million voters last election, and a good number of them weren't high information voters, but deserve their rights. Probably 70 million were on our side or amenable to us, but it's a tough nut to crack, coordinating an outreach pre-election to that many people. Our orgs weren't cash-rich enough to provide the high-tech tools in the field to help us help the voters, and I saw a E.P. volunteer in Ward 25 - 2,3 trying over and over to load a freezed-up votespa (heavy traffic or GOP skulduggery, who knows) into his smart device phone.

Not insurmountable problems, but difficult to solve from a cash and coordination pov.

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Response to DebJ (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 04:59 PM

7. And the Philly polls.............

http://www.citypaper.net/news/2012-11-08-block-the-vote-polling-problems-philadelphia.html

"But incomplete voter rolls and provisional ballots wreaked havoc in precincts across Philly. At some polling places, it was just a handful of provisional ballots; at others it was 100 or more, in some cases representing as much as 20 percent of participating voters at a given division. Just about every judge of elections City Paper spoke with said they’d had to deal with provisionals, and that it had never, to their knowledge, come up at the polling place before."

"“I went today to go vote and I was not on the roll at all,” says Conyngham, who votes at West Philadelphia High School. “They had to call the city, and I spoke with someone from Stephanie Singer’s office. She said, ‘This is really strange. I have you as a registered voter … but you don’t have a polling place attached to your name.’”"

"Voters like Jesse Seitel, 27, who cast a provisional ballot at 52nd and Willow, were angry. “I had the registration that had been sent to me, and it had my name and street address on it. I got there, and my name wasn’t in the book. It was total bullshit.”

"BUT IT WASN'T just new voters, and it wasn’t just college areas. Heather Kelly, 34, has been judge of elections at the Northeast’s 66th Ward, 46th Division, since she was 18 years old, and she’s never seen an election like this one. Longtime voters, people she’d seen year after year, had suddenly vanished from the poll books. She said calls to the City Commissioners’ office and Committee of Seventy didn’t provide much help. "

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