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High CA Voter Turnout Leads To Some Problems At Polls

November 5, 2008

Too many voters and not enough ballots. That may summarize the Election Day experience for Californians, who went to the polls in record numbers on Tuesday to discover that some precincts were not prepared for the crowds.

Attorney Elisabeth Neubauer, with the Election Protection Coalition, says in Los Angeles County alone, nearly 50 precincts ran out of ballots. Other polling places were working from outdated registration lists, which meant voters had to cast provisional ballots. Neubauer says it is important these voters call their county election office in the next few days.

"We are encouraging voters to follow up, to make sure that their provisional ballots are counted. They do have the right to check and see if their votes are counted and, if they were not counted, to ask why not."

According to Neubauer, there were also reports of voter screening, especially on college campuses.

"There have been sporadic instances of checking for voters' identification and screening them based on the voter's race. At UCLA we have reports that Latino voters are being targeted and asked to cast provisional ballots, even if they are properly registered."

Other election problems included polls opening late and a lack of poll workers and voting booths. The Election Protection Coalition's tollfree hotline for voters to report problems reported more than 5,000 calls received in California.

More information can be found online, at Common Cause, www.commoncause.org

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA