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Tue Sep 29, 2020, 03:57 PM

The start of early voting in Philly was riddled with technical issues

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

The much anticipated debut of early voting got off to a rocky start in Philadelphia on Tuesday, as technical issues left voters frustrated and confused while they waited in line unable to cast their ballots. Philadelphia opened the first of 15 new satellite elections offices in the city where voters can request, receive, fill out, and submit a mail ballot in one stop.

“It’s a mail-in vote without having to use the mail,” Lisa Deeley, chair of the Philadelphia City Commissioners, said at a morning news conference outside the Liacouras Center at Temple University, where one of the new offices is located. The others are in public schools. But moments later, problems delayed the opening of the satellite sites to the public, keeping two dozen voters lined up waiting outside the Liacouras Center. Theresa Thomas, of North Philadelphia, was the first voter in line. But after waiting about an hour, Thomas 56, was exasperated. “Why am I still sitting here?” she said. “They might as well give me a job.”

Nick Custodio, a deputy commissioner under Deeley, said the delay was caused by state’s voter database going down, which meant workers were unable to look up voters, process and approve mail ballot applications, and print ballot materials. By 12:45 p.m., six of the seven satellite sites the city planned to open Tuesday were up and running, Custodio said. Thomas, who was in line well before the 11:30 a.m. scheduled opening, cast her ballot shortly after 1 p.m. She said it was worth the wait. “We need to come out here and vote no matter what it takes,” she said.

County elections officials across Pennsylvania said the state’s voter database, known as SURE, was down throughout the morning. They regularly complain that the system, put in place in the early 2000s and run by the Pennsylvania Department of State, often goes off-line or slows down, especially under heavy traffic. “This is the first time that anything like this has been attempted in the City of Philadelphia, and it’s the largest setup in the state of Pennsylvania,” Custodio said. “It’s running on an older infrastructure, and we’re asking for patience as we work out the initial complications.”


Read more: https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/philadelphia-pennsylvania-early-voting-offices-open-20200929.html



Note that technically, there is no "early voting" in PA. This is mail-in/absentee-ballot turn ins (or voter registration, mail-in application requests/approval, mail-in ballot receipt/completion and turn-in). No ballots will be opened until the polls open at 7:00 am EDT election day and this is NOT "in person" voting using voting machines/scanners.

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Reply The start of early voting in Philly was riddled with technical issues (Original post)
BumRushDaShow Sep 29 OP
klook Sep 29 #1
Bengus81 Sep 29 #2
BumRushDaShow Sep 29 #3
soothsayer Sep 29 #4
BumRushDaShow Sep 29 #5
Dem2theMax Sep 29 #6
LisaL Sep 29 #7
TomSlick Sep 29 #8
BumRushDaShow Sep 29 #9

Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 04:13 PM

1. Good grief - who tested this mess??

I used to work in IT. If we'd rolled out something with this many customer-impacting issues, heads would have rolled!

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Response to klook (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 04:35 PM

2. Gosh...in a swing State. Who'd a thunk it??

But we might have similar "rigging" here in Kansas as they have to try and prop up Roger (I'm a doctor but I want to kill off the ACA) Marshall so Barbara Bollier can't beat his ass for a Senate seat replacing that ancient POS Pat Roberts.

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Response to klook (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 04:55 PM

3. This is only the 2nd election using "vote by mail" (no-excuse absentee) in PA

where the first time was just this past spring with the 2020 primary.

At the time, there were no "satellite offices" like they are trying to do today and for the general election. During the primary, if any vote-by-mail voters wanted to drop off their completed ballot without going through the mail, there were 2 main locations - outside of City Hall downtown and at the office of the Philadelphia Board of Elections Voter Registration office not far from the Delaware River on the border of Olde City and Northern Liberties (as I found out reading an article last week ) and 10 "mobile locations" at different parts of the city.

This year they decided to GO BIG and offer to register people to vote, have them apply for a mail-in/absentee ballot, get it approved, get an absentee ballot printed out for them right on the spot, have them complete it, and then they could turn it in - all in the same visit.

So THAT ALONE was a major hit on the state's systems because they were using that to actually verify the voter and "on-the-fly approve" the application.

I know yesterday I was having issues getting the state's site to give me a status on whether my ballot had been mailed by the city yet (the city claimed they started mailing on Monday).

And if anyone asks why not just vote on election day "in person" I will answer with 2 reasons*.

1.) FUCKING ES&S EXPRESSVOTE XL TOUCH SCREEN MACHINES



2.) I STILL have no polling place identified for my division yet.




(*the 3rd FYI reason would be that I had requested vote-by-mail for the entire year, both elections, and got a verification notification from the state back in July that I was still good to go for getting a ballot once the county (city of Philly) was ready).

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 05:03 PM

4. Best to find these things early

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Response to soothsayer (Reply #4)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 05:08 PM

5. That was my first thought too

because not all of the "satellite" sites are up yet (they were phasing them in).

And hopefully the state IT folks increase that bandwidth and up the db transaction levels.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 06:19 PM

6. Absolutely amazing that we could put a man on the moon in 1969,

but with all the technological advances that have been made since then, we still can't vote without one problem after another?

And I know quite a few of those problems are on purpose.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 07:09 PM

7. Looking on the bright side, at least some people were eventually able to vote.

Today is the first day, hopefully the rest will go better.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 07:52 PM

8. To err is human. To really screw things up requires a computer.

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Response to TomSlick (Reply #8)

Tue Sep 29, 2020, 07:55 PM

9. DUzy!



(that's how I felt today trying to get the damn bluetooth driver working again on my convertible tablet )

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