It took one movie star five hours and a judge’s order before he could vote by machine in his district Tuesday.
Scattered problems were reported nationwide with registration issues snarling the process in some battleground states and massive turnout slowing things down in others. Long lines persisted in some parts of Pennsylvania, a fiercely contested state. In Upper Darby, near Philadelphia, township residents and Lincoln University students endured lines that lasted as long as 11 hours and stretched past the state’s closing time of 8 p.m. Jacintha Johnson, a senior at the historically African-American school, told CNN that she got in line at 7:30 a.m. and voted at 6 p.m. She said the precinct had only five voting booths to accommodate up to 3,000 people. “Practically the entire school was out there,” she said. In Virginia, one of the most hotly contested states, voters reported waits as long as five hours in Norfolk. In nearby Chesapeake, about 50 percent of the city’s registered voters showed up at the polls Tuesday morning. “We started the line at about 10:30 a.m., and we did not get done until 3:30 p.m.,” said Jessica Edwards, who voted in Norfolk. Some voters in Georgia said they were turned away when informed somebody using their names had already cast ballots in early voting. Republicans in Colorado lodged a complaint of voter intimidation at polling places by supporters of Barack Obama. See people vote across the U.S. Democrats in several states — including the key state of Missouri — received bogus text messages or e-mails Wednesday urging them to put off voting until Wednesday because of long lines. In St. Louis, Missouri, Lisa Foreman said she went to vote in her precinct where improperly calibrated machines would only select Republican John McCain for president. She said workers there were trying to fix the problem. “We stood in line for three hours. Eventually we had to move to paper ballots,” Foreman said. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Regina Hollis said she ran into problems with her voter registration, even though she’s lived at the same address for the past five years. “Today I go to vote, my name is not in the book and I had to fill out a provisional ballot,” Hollis. Even the rich and famous ran into problems. When Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins showed up at his West 14th Street YMCA polling center in Manhattan, he was informed that his name was missing from the register. “I went to vote where I normally vote and I was not listed. I asked for an explanation; they had none,” Robbins told CNN. Watch Robbins describe his problems at the polls
CNN Voter HotlineVoters can report problems to CNN Voter Hotline at 877-462-6608.
He said he has been voting in the same district since 1992; hasn’t missed a single election; and hasn’t changed addresses or political affiliations. “The poll worker said my name was in the book for the primary two months ago, but missing for the general election,” he said. Robbins rejected an offer to fill out a provisional ballot. It took the actor a total of five hours — and a judge’s order — to finally vote. “I’m just waiting for an explanation,” he said. “I want a real explanation, and I want that explanation for the hundreds and thousands of people in my district and throughout the city who are experiencing the same thing today.” Meanwhile, voters in the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania reported problems signing into the polls in Tuesday’s general election, with Ohio officials acknowledging that some voters in the Cincinnati area were mistakenly issued provisional ballots because of confusion about a state voter ID law. “They [poll workers] are nervous, so they have them vote by provisional ballot,” said Hamilton County Board of Elections Director Sally Krisel. She explained that her office had undertaken an outreach effort Tuesday morning to remind poll workers of the rules governing provisional ballots. Watch how some Ohio voters were surprised Ohio voter Rachel Near told CNN’s Voter Hotline that she was issued a provisional ballot when she tried to vote in Columbus, Ohio.
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“I know that provisional ballots are counted still, but it’s really annoying to not have the poll workers informed about what kind of ID they are supposed to accept,” Near said. “I would think that at this point in time — considering the magnitude of this election — they would be aware of that.” Provisional ballots are issued in Ohio when voters lack proper identification or are using the last four digits of a Social Security number as proof of ID. Voters with an address change or name change are also required to vote by provisional ballot. Voters are required to provide proof of identification within 10 days of the election for their votes to be counted, according to Krisel. Democrats in Texas, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas reported receiving text messages saying they could vote for Obama on Wednesday. An e-mail circulated in Arkansas and robocalls in Missouri also told voters they could cast their ballots Wednesday. Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said she had “no tolerance” for anyone attempting to confuse voters. “Every eligible Missourian should be able to cast their ballot today, and my office will immediately respond to any reports of misinformation,” Carnahan said. “Anyone attempting to deprive voters of their rights on Election Day will be prosecuted.” In Maryland, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Douglas Gansler said his office passed along complaints about the messages to the U.S. Justice Department and state prosecutors. In Virginia and North Carolina, rain caused problems for counties using optical-scan paper ballots after water dripping off of wet voters rendered the ballots unreadable by scanners. Watch people wait in the rain in Richmond, Virginia Election officials were encouraging voters to dry off before filling out ballots to avoid problems, and damp ballots were being allowed to dry before being tabulated, said Ryan Enright, a spokesman for Virginia’s Board of Elections. In North Carolina, the problem seemed to dry up when election officials issued a memo about using paper towels, said Gary Bartlett, executive director of the North Carolina Election Board. Many voters experienced no problems at the polls. One voter, casting a ballot in Douglasville, Georgia, outside Atlanta, said it took him six minutes to fill out his paperwork and vote. Another in Cobb County said his total voting experience lasted only a little more than four minutes. “I walked right in, there were even empty polling booths,” the voter said of his church polling station.
CNN will be tracking voter problems through Election Day. If you have a problem or see a problem, or want to tell CNN about your voting experience, call the CNN Voter Hotline at 877-462-6608. See what issues are concerns in each state by clicking on the interactive hotline map at cnn.com/hotline.