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'Meltdown 2006': Voting problems across US

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday November 7, 2006

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With hours left to go before polls close, reports of problems have been widespread, especially in states where close or "bellwether" elections are taking place, RAW STORY has learned.

Long lines have crippled a crowded Denver, Colorado polling place after the location ran out of provisional ballots almost three hours ago. Two hours later, the ballots had not yet appeared.

Update: A judge has ruled against a Democratic party request to extend polling hours in Denver.

Also in Colorado, Latino voters report receiving racially charged, intimidating phone calls warning them that, based on ethnicity, they are inelligible to vote.

Pennsylvania has suffered, too.

A non-partisan voter hotline—866-OUR-VOTE—has received more reports and complaints about voting irregularities from Pennsylvania than from any other state. Some of those problems are documented here.

Pennsylvania is an important battleground for Democrats, who were polling ahead in congressional races and looked well positioned to pick up a senate seat from Republican Rick Santorum going into today's election.

In Virginia, allegations of statewide voter intimidation are seen as more serious.

Reports have indicated that phone calls have been directed across the state from the fictitious "Virginia Elections Commision," threatening voters with arrest if they appear at polling places to vote. Voters are advised that, because of their out of state registrations, voting in Virginia is illegal. However, many of the voters who've been harassed have been registered instate for years.

Unlike in Pennsylvania—where polls showed Democrat Bob Casey with a large lead over incumbent Santorum—the Virginia senate race is tighter. Recent polls show incumbent Republican George Allen narrowly trailing Democratic challenger Jim Webb. However, the state is considered by many to be a valuable barometer of the national campaign for control of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Missouri is another bellwether state, where Clare McCaskill is challenging incumbent Republican Jim Talent. There, reports have pointed to vote-flipping both at polling places today and in early voting before today.

Technical problems have plagued states across the Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Florida and Utah have suffered similar problems, mostly involving broken machinery, or poll-workers without the technical expertise to operate them.

In Kentucky, a voter is suing a poll worker, whose name has not been released, after the volunteer allegedly attacked and choked him before forcing him from the polling location.

Larger national media organizations including MSNBC, The Los Angeles Times, and USA Today are featuring stories about the extent of election troubles across the country.