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Two Dressed in Black Panthers Attire Intimidate Voters in Philadelphia

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There are already a number of reports of voting problems in key battleground states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida.

At one precinct in Philadelphia, guards wearing Black Panthers attire and armed with nightsticks are in front of the doors of a polling site intimidating voters. Here is raw footage filmed by a student.

David Bario, writing for The American Lawyer at amlawdaikly.com, reports:

The polls have only been open a few hours, but reports of malfunctioning voting machines and overwhelmed polling stations already are flooding in. Jonah Goldman, director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections, says he and other Election Protection partners are most concerned so far about Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida, where massive voter turnout is overwhelming already vulnerable voting systems.

In Virginia, election protection monitors are describing massive machine breakdowns, which are being compounded by the absence of state provisions to provide back-up paper ballots when the machines fail. Voters in Richmond, Chesapeake, Fairfax, and Arlington are stuck in long lines, and some are being given provisional ballots to speed up the process. Those provisional ballots should be treated like regular ballots, Goldman says, but there are concerns that they will not be. There also are reports of voters being turned away from the polls and voter intimidation. Over two dozen polling places opened late, leading Election Protection officials to call for voting hours to be extended by two hours. Check back for more on the situation in Virginia later this afternoon.

Pennsylvania has similar reports of long lines and malfunctioning machines. In Pittsburgh, poll workers were so overwhelmed that local election authorities deputized Election Protection monitors in the spot to deal with the crowds.

In Florida, in addition to long lines, at least two dozen polling places centered in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas have reported malfunctioning optical scan machines.

In Virginia, water dripping from an early-morning rain onto optical-scan paper ballots have made some of the ballot impossible to scan, Ryan Enright, a spokesman for the State Board of Elections, told CNN.

Election officials are encouraging voters to dry off before filling out ballots. Damp ballots will be allowed to dry before being tabulated, Enright said. This step will mean a longer processing time for election officials, but it should not affect voters’ wait times, he said.

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Written by newscycle

November 4, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Posted in Election, FOX

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