If you haven't noticed, today is Election Day! While the normal complaints revolving long lines are to be expected, there have been a number of irregularities involving poll sites.
Some of the problems reported are poll machines that needed to be recalibrated, voters receiving already-used ballots, malfunctioning machines and vote-jumping. As if that wasn't enough, people have had to watch out for unscrupulous poll-workers. For a good run-down of poll site irregularities, check out Al-Jazeera as well as this site here
Having served as a poll worker in the past, it’s a tough gig. Poll workers are faced with a long work day and face anxious voters. For Deanna Swenson, an Oregon election worker, however her experience was atypical.
On Monday, it was reported that she was fired for altering two ballots, in favor of Republicans. She had worked in elections since 2000. It’s unfathomable that this can happen, and strikes at the heart of what democracy is all about. This news is on top of similar behavior by firms hired by the GOP such as Strategic Allied Consulting that's come under fire for manipulating voter registration forms. Both camps however are quite anxious to avoid voter fraud.
In New Jersey, one problem was reported with the fax/email voting ballot procedure set in place to replace electronic voting. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU) has filed an emergency petition asking the courts to intervene.
Governor Chris Christie issued a directive allowing for ballot voting due to the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. Displaced voters could either fax or email a mail-in ballot application to the county clerk. The problem is that voters have been complaining of not receiving the ballot back once the application was approved. It would have taken approximately 15 minutes per application to verify the signature of a voter. Furthermore, in some cases, voters haven’t been able to contact their county clerk. Because of the backlog of absentee ballot applications, some voters are being urged to fill out the provisional ballots instead.
Reported cases of 'vote-jumping' have emerged whereby voters' selection for their preferred choice have been switched to their opponents on voting machines —this has occurred in favor of both Obama and Romney in North Carolina and California.
Below is a video clip taken by a Pennsylvania voter which shows how his vote was switched from Obama to Romney.
Due to the large turnout in some areas, many poll-sites either did not anticipate or were not prepared for the number of voters. Already the number of irregularities have some Americans crying voter fraud and expressing concern that their vote may not have been count. Let's hope that these irregularities make up only a small portion of the votes for the presidential election.