Registered Voters Forced to Vote Provisionally
By Danielle Ivory
STEVEN ROSENFELD, REPORTER, ALTERNET: The bottom line is Obama could be losing several points in Philadelphia, which could affect his statewide totals, because of this voter registration database SNAFU or incongruity. And as people were explaining to me, the reason that this is happening is ’cause there’s just a paperwork mountain, and they haven’t got it all together, and there were so many new registrations.
ROSENFELD: I’m Steve Rosenfeld. I write for Alternet. It’s an online news organization. I cover voting rights in elections.
ROSENFELD: Well, what we found that’s really interesting so far this morning in South Philadelphia is that apparently there are a number of voters whose names are on the central voter registration list at the board of elections, but when they print out the sheets of voters at each precinct, their names are missing. Now, what is supposed to happen, we are being told by some election people, is that they are supposed to call down to the central board, and the board is supposed to say, "Hey, yeah, their name’s on the list," and they’re supposed to get regular ballots. But what we are finding is that they’re being given provisional ballots. And we asked some of the poll observers how often this is happening, and they said, "Well, maybe 2 or 4 times out of 50 or 100 people." Well, that could be, you know, four or eight percent. And if you think about the vote totals that may come in later tonight—and they said this was pervasive—that could peel a few percentage points off of what’s going to be the Obama totals coming out of Philadelphia, which is basically where, you know, he’s going to get most of his votes statewide, and make it a much tighter finish than otherwise would be the case, because those provisional ballots are not going to be counted until they’re verified.
ROSENFELD: So you are a Canadian?
ELMER NARDINI, COMMITTEE PERSON, WARD 26, PA: Yes.
ROSENFELD: Can you tell me your name, please?
NARDINI: Elmer Nardini.
ROSENFELD: Elmer. And you represent the—.
NARDINI: Twenty-sixth Ward.
ROSENFELD: The only thing we’ve really bumped into this morning, you know, has been this discussion of people whose names, I guess, were on what they were calling the central lists but weren’t printed on the precinct lists.
ROSENFELD: And as you were saying, that’s to be expected.
NARDINI: We live in a computer world, but we’re not that fast. Sometimes you want it to be instant. Uh-uh.
(OFF CAMERA): But, I mean, this is the day. Like—.
NARDINI: Well, yeah, but because you had so many people come out because it’s the day, it’s a problem.
ROSENFELD: It looks like a regular ballot, except it’s not counted until after election day, when the county election officials verify that your voter registration is current. In terms of the practical impact of figuring out whether to contest election results or not and how close it will be, it could actually make a tight contest tighter rather than perhaps, you know, less so.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Today, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights has received more complaint calls from Pennsylvania than from Ohio, Virginia, or Florida.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.