Block that Vote!
November 2, 2004 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Ohio Poll Challengers Blocked Okayed. Keep track of all the other last-minute fraud here.
posted by mwhybark (54 comments total)
Is MoveOn making sure that there are enough people in place to challenge the challengers?
posted by substrate at 6:55 AM on November 2, 2004

I'm imagining a situation where voter turnout ends up being incredibly low...simply because everyone is too busy challenging and challenge-challenging to actually vote.
posted by tpl1212 at 6:59 AM on November 2, 2004

....ruled 2-1 to allow Republicans and Democrats one challenger a precinct each.

Each side gets one challenger. What was the problem with that? I see more of a problem if you were to kick one parties challenger out and leave the other.
posted by a3matrix at 7:02 AM on November 2, 2004

Who will challenge the challengers when the challenger challengers don't live up to the challenge?
posted by psmealey at 7:02 AM on November 2, 2004

I think these guys will have the ultimate say....
posted by tpl1212 at 7:05 AM on November 2, 2004

Who will challenge the challengers when the challenger challengers don't live up to the challenge?

Since they're all pretty much retards, this can be amended to:

Who will challenge the challenged challengers when the challenged challenger challenged challangers are too challenged to live up to the challenge (challenge-challenge)?
posted by Ryvar at 7:06 AM on November 2, 2004

If anyone comes cross other election incidents online today via email, livejournal, weblogs, message boards, mailing lists and chatrooms, check out the online reporting form managed by the Election Protection 2004 coalition -

Though if it's urgent or someone is still at the polls, they should call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to get it remedied so their vote counts.

You cansee the incidents being reported to the Election Protection 2004 hotline at

Very interesting.
posted by bkdelong at 7:07 AM on November 2, 2004

Everyone at work here in Cleveland is talking about how crazy the turnout has been so far. They say they've never seen it this busy. [This is my first time voting in Cleveland, so I have no reference point] No one has mentioned anything about challengers, although lots of people are complaining that the old ladies took too long to give us the ballots. I voted at 6:30am and there were probably 200 people there in line.
posted by sciurus at 7:10 AM on November 2, 2004

For more voting irregularity issues (including, I imagine, overly boisterous challengers), Jason Kottke posted some election-day info...including a couple of handy phone numbers to bring with you:

"If you experience problems voting, or if you see anything improper at the polls, you may want to get help. It is a good idea to bring a cellphone, and phone numbers of nonpartisan hotlines like the Election Protection program's 1-866-OURVOTE and Common Cause's 1-866-MYVOTE1."
posted by tpl1212 at 7:22 AM on November 2, 2004

I'm imagining a situation where voter turnout ends up being incredibly low...simply because everyone is too busy challenging and challenge-challenging to actually vote.

That is exactly what the republicans are hoping for. I doubt they expect the challenges themselves to make a significant difference -- it's all about slowing things down in the right precincts, making the lines as long as possible, and hoping voters will just give up and go home.
posted by ook at 7:23 AM on November 2, 2004

I've got in and voted about thirty minutes ago--Washington state projects an 84% turnout--and I didn't have to wait but for one guy ahead of me.

But it's funny, there were extra people there this time--two persons, a man and a woman, at either end of the row of tables the volunteers sat at and a woman across the room, in a corner sitting with open laptop. All were paying attention to the voters and the precinct workers. I've never seen anything like that before.
posted by y2karl at 7:38 AM on November 2, 2004

Lines were incredibly long at my voting precint(Milwaukee-Wisconsin), and the people handing out ballots were taking forever. In my experience, I've never seen that many people lined up to vote (the line ran outside the building down to the street corner) and the wait was at least an hour+, but it didn't seem like anyone was getting out of line because of its length.

There were people that were obviously there to challenge votes, but they were doing it in a really hush hush way.

Clicking on that Election Incident list- Ohio's is huge.
posted by drezdn at 7:44 AM on November 2, 2004

I read an article about the first Ohio ruling in the New York Times yesterday and I screamed obscenities aloud in my office. It dropped the ball. It didn't even touch what seemed to be the most obvious question to me: how in the hell is this supposed to work?
With what conceivable and legitimate evidence could a "challenger" judge the citizenship of a voter with whom they are not personally acquainted?
Am I stupid? Can someone suggest a link that gives the cover story for this suppression?
posted by Wood at 7:44 AM on November 2, 2004

there were two move on org people at the 17th and 18th precincts in kalamazoo, mi (both voting in the same building) ... i didn't see any challengers ... the lines was quite long and some commented they'd never seen that many before ... i don't know, as i just moved from a more rural location ... it took me about an hour to vote
posted by pyramid termite at 8:00 AM on November 2, 2004

Good question Wood. I'm looking forward to an answer, re: "who the fuck are you to tell me whether I can vote, you dimwit?"
posted by acrobat at 8:14 AM on November 2, 2004

IIRC, people can still vote, regardless of whether they are challenged or not. Their ballots are supposed to be treated as provisional and then their registration will be verified later.
posted by armage at 8:22 AM on November 2, 2004

If you guys read tomorrow about a Republican poll watcher found stuffed inside a ballot box -- you'll know I got challenged.

(Not, of course, that they'd bother in Nebraska but I already met my "dealing-with-idiots" quota for this week and will have zero tolerance when I go to vote.)
posted by RavinDave at 8:30 AM on November 2, 2004

Wood, This site spells out how the challengers can do their thing. The Ohio republican party claims that they sent out "do not forward" mailings to many or all newly registered Ohio voters. Some of the mailings were returned, indicating, they say, that these new voters do not really live at the address specified. Of course, I frequently don't get my mail to my house, even though I'e lived there for 5 years, due to a similar street name conflict in my neighborhood.

The Ohio voter challengers, I understand, are not to speak to voters at all. They are to speak to the poll workers if they have concerns.

I've thought about how to handle it if I was challenged. I would not accept anyone interfering and would fight until I got to vote and then would register my complaint. But I'm not the person they're trying to block: the educated, regular voter that won't take crap. They're after the ones that can be intimidated or are only marginally interested in putting up with the hassles.
posted by Red58 at 8:32 AM on November 2, 2004

Drudge is reporting electronic voting machines in Philly were "stuffed" with votes *before* the polls even opened. No details on which party the votes were for or if they were Diebold machines.
posted by mortisimo at 8:33 AM on November 2, 2004


According to Talking Points Memo, the Philadelphia City Commissioner says "no factual
basis whatsoever".

posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:46 AM on November 2, 2004

My reccomendation is to bring ID and proof of residency (like a bill) just in case.

Drudge: Lets see, hack with a known agenda publishes anonymous report of voting machine stuffing.

TV news is crap. Internet updates are crap. We are going to see 5 stories based on rumor, exaggeration, and hearsay for every fact reported until tomorrow morning. Sit back, wait, and see what happens once the official results are reported and the facts are checked.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:48 AM on November 2, 2004

We are going to see 5 stories based on rumor, exaggeration, and hearsay for every fact reported until tomorrow morning.

This is true, but that's still a very large number of true stories of corruption, racism and dirty tricks.

No challengers in St. Ann, MO this morning but it was not well organized, and the line was long enough that I saw at least one person turn around and leave when she saw it.
posted by Foosnark at 9:17 AM on November 2, 2004

how in the hell is this supposed to work? ... Can someone suggest a link that gives the cover story for this suppression?

Ohio Revised Code § 3505.20. Challenges.
posted by probablysteve at 10:05 AM on November 2, 2004

I put my mail-in ballot in the drop box a week ago.

Oregon rocks.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:09 AM on November 2, 2004

I've heard that the Repubs are trying to so tarnish the voting that their legal challenges afterward will stick, and to discredit Kerry even before he takes office.
posted by amberglow at 10:13 AM on November 2, 2004

I voted by touchscreen one fine morning last week. I was Number 10. I sat in a room and waited five minutes for them to call my number, then I spent five minutes going over my ballot in triplicate before hitting OK.

Of course, I brought a copy of the ballot with all my selections on it -- California has far too many propositions on it.
posted by linux at 10:14 AM on November 2, 2004

So, my wife moved in with me a few months before we got married, and she re-registered under her maiden name at my address. We got married at the end of July, and she went to the DMV to get her driver's license changed to her new last name.

She's never gotten any voter information here at our place. Nor did she get any at her old place (her old roommate still lives there, and he hangs on to any mail for her). We went to the polling place for her old apartment, and she was on the rolls under her maiden name at her old address.

I don't think there will be dirty tricks as much as there will be plain ol' bureaucratic fuckups.
posted by RakDaddy at 10:20 AM on November 2, 2004

I wonder where they learned that strategy.

from Bush in Florida in 2000? (given that it was the GOP that started legal proceedings there, not the Dems.) Or maybe they learned from DeLay in Texas, where they ran to court to redistrict?
posted by amberglow at 10:21 AM on November 2, 2004

I just voted in Columbus, Ohio. It took two hours to move through the line, and I didn't see a single challenge. I and three or four people around me were trying to spot the Republican challenger and we couldn't even find one.

It was kind of anti-climatic.
posted by aenea at 10:39 AM on November 2, 2004

Why the hell are people repotrting an hour or two waiting in line? I've never had to wait to vote - just turn up, get my ballot paper and vote.
posted by salmacis at 10:54 AM on November 2, 2004

Well, salmacis, perhaps that's because you're in the UK and they seem to do this better than we do in the US.

We have better teeth, though.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:08 AM on November 2, 2004

I know this is like saying the Olsen twins are a little skinny, but -- the election process in this country is appallingly inconsistent and outdated.

I have lit so many prayer candles for a clean and fair election that my place looks like a Sting video, and I'm still only partially optimistic.

Big turnout, people. No whammies.
posted by chicobangs at 11:15 AM on November 2, 2004

I just voted and it was cake. Two people ahead of me, nice old lever machine, no harassment, no fuck-ups despite that this was the first time I have voted in this location. In fact, a New York state monitor was there and interviewed me afterward just to be sure everything was perfect.

And the moral is: If you want voting to be easy, move where your vote doesn't count. And go in the middle of the afternoon.
posted by dame at 11:16 AM on November 2, 2004

Nationwide, it would appear that we do not have the infrastructure in place (polling locations, voting machines, poll workers etc) to accomodate a 100% voting rate. Turnout today is what - 65% maybe? 70% seems way too optimistic, and yet there are reports of long lines and "overwhelming" turnout in almost every state.

Imagine for a moment what would happen if we actually had a 100% voter turnout....makes you wonder what kind of democracy we're running when we can't accomodate every person's vote.
posted by junkbox at 11:20 AM on November 2, 2004

We have better teeth, though.

says who? open up and say AaaaaHHH

posted by matteo at 11:20 AM on November 2, 2004

We have better teeth, though.

British teeth are improving at a much faster rate than the American electoral system.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:21 AM on November 2, 2004

Much like its 50's and 60's infrastructure, the way the states conduct elections is a hodge-podge of old and new tech. We can't help it if we're the longest running nation with national elections. It's pretty much like 3rd world countries going straight to VOIP and cell lines and not having to deal with older systems.

That and it's a pretty big country with a voter turnout larger than most nations. Plus being a republic with states conducting their own state and local elections on the same ballot.

You try it. See how you do.
posted by linux at 11:32 AM on November 2, 2004

I just voted in San Francisco district 5 and there was no wait. I have the luxury of voting in the middle of the day. There were 29 propositions, School Board, Community College Board, US Senator, US Representative, State Assembly and President. It was 4 long ballots, both sides except for one and feels like taking a test. The good news is you can take a cheat sheet to help you pass the test.

There was no line but there were a lot more people there than usual at 11am.
posted by whatever at 11:43 AM on November 2, 2004

India (to pull the first example that comes to mind) seems to be doing relatively better than we are, and with a populace less formally educated, three or four times the size, and with a multiparty system at least as fractious and schismed as ours.

Don't tell me voting reform isn't possible for this country.
posted by chicobangs at 11:50 AM on November 2, 2004

We should be able to do as well as India, at least. Especially since we have only one official language.

I just went to vote and I was one of three voters in my polling site; according to the poll workers (100% female, aged 50-70+, but mostly in their 50s and 60s) "almost everyone in the precinct voted before noon".
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:55 AM on November 2, 2004

I'm in Columbus, Ohio. I went to vote at 6:40, 10 minutes after the polls opened. I waited for close to 2 hours. My wife voted at 9 and wait for 1.5 hours. The other precinct that votes at the same site had a 2.5 hour wait. I just drove by and their line is still around the 2 hour mark. We vote at a rec center at a park where Kerry held a rally the week he chose Edwards. The lines have never gone outside of the building before, and this time they are. Tonight will be hectic. Polls close here at 7:30. As long as you're in line by that time, you get to vote. I'm going to guess that our polling location won't close out their last voter until around 11pm.
I had to vote on an anti-gay ballot issue that would screw us all, a smoking ban, a zoo levy, school levy, 4 city bond issues, 15 judges, 6 county offices, state rep, congressional rep, senator, president, and against a creationist nut job for board of ed (support Adam Miller, please). Most people came close to their 5 minute limit in the booth.

I then worked at a call center for 3 hours for the campaign. It was one of several in Columbus. The call list had 7290 pages of 21 voters each they need to call by 7pm. I did a few hundred. They are targeting important neighborhoods. Most of the people I got to talk to had voted. Very few for Bush. They were all happy to hear from me and most everybody supported the get out the vote efforts.

MoveOn is monitoring all of the polling places in my area. My wife is at the neighboring precinct now, at my daughter's school. They had long lines too. It's raining but people are coming out in droves. Move on is doing an independent tally, and is checking in their targetted voters.

In Ohio the names of those who have voted so far are posted at 11am, 4pm, and at close. MoveOn, ACT, and the campaign are all monitoring those lists and cross referencing them against their targeted turnout lists. I called off of one of those sheets after 11 today, and would say that turnout looks good there too. Most people reported 1.5 - 2 hour lines. Some said 3. No one reported being challenged to me, and I was calling in neighborhoods where I would expect challenges.
The news showed one of those lame "Democrats vote Wednesday" flyers. People in Columbus got them yesterday. I don't think anybody was fooled.

My daughter's first grade class had Kerry win 17 - 10.
My wife is answering the phone, "Kerry in a landslide."
Three weeks ago we drove through a conservative band of rural Ohio: Harveysburg to Columbus on SR221 and SR68, through Xenia, Cedarville, London, South Charleston, and West Jefferson. My daughter's yard sign straw poll came out a tie. Without the evengelical Christian College in Cedarville, it would have been Kerry by 20.

Today at the polls, I saw no black hoodies. Eminem's gonna be pissed.
posted by putzface_dickman at 12:08 PM on November 2, 2004

I wore a black hoodie at my polling place. Not because of Eminem. Just happens to be that my hoodie is black.
posted by sciurus at 12:11 PM on November 2, 2004

whatever- I'm in District 5 too. I'm suprised you didn't mention the 22 people running for our open Board of Supervisors slot, and the fact that we had to choose & rank three of them (we now have instant-runoff elections for the first time). I've been studying for weeks!

I went in at 8:30 this morning, and about 100 people had already voted (the polls opened at 7). I've gone in at 3pm for previous elections and seen fewer votes cast. There wasn't much of a wait, but the place was packed with people standing at booths as well as crowding around tables to fill out their ballots.
posted by obloquy at 12:26 PM on November 2, 2004

I wore a black hoodie at my polling place.

I wore a blue hoodie--under a beater bomber jacket--at mine. Man, I am glad I went early. It started to rain around 3 in the morning. It's raining still.
posted by y2karl at 12:33 PM on November 2, 2004

putzface, are there procedures in case the reported vote tallies are way off from the evidence you guys are collecting? (i'm thinking diebold corruption).
posted by amberglow at 1:10 PM on November 2, 2004

CNN just announced that Ohio is officially telling people who never got absentee ballots to go to their polling places and cast provisional ballots?!?
posted by amberglow at 1:29 PM on November 2, 2004

I know, Karl, the weather in WA today (and yesterday) was horrendous. I walked a mile through huge puddles to vote (no car) and waited in a mini-line about 5 minutes - it was completely worth it. Now I get to be smug all day.

Washington State ballots are really quite nice - Scantrons - and they're very self-explanatory. I also didn't see a challenger from either party, but I'd have been surprised to have.

Black Hoodie.
posted by hoborg at 1:32 PM on November 2, 2004

amberglow, yes there are, but I'm not far enough up the ladder to know what they are. In fact, I'm not even on the ladder. I don't know if I could work with both the campaign and MoveOn. From my wife I know that with MoveOn, the precinct leaders report to captains, or organizers. Our county has 50 organizers. They huddle together and call shots on reporting those discrepancies. Each precinct observing station has a call list with access to lawyers who can help make sure a person's right to vote is upheld.
I'd guess that they are tied in with voterprotection. It will be interesting to see if these 527s work. The Slate swingers profile for Wisconsin talked about how the Kerry campaign is basically outsourced to the 527s.
In Ohio, MoveOn's goals for the whole state amount to a 1% uptick in voter turnout of specifically targetted infrequent voters.

ACT just came to my door to make sure I voted. They seemed to be doing a boots on the ground, lots of doors, approach. The campaign is working the phones and walking the neighborhoods, with a six figure list in my county. MoveOn is focusing on less than 100 voters per precinct.
posted by putzface_dickman at 1:33 PM on November 2, 2004

Also, is there a good discussion somewhere about why we've never, as a country, gone to multi-day voting? It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to restrict all the voting that this country does to a Tuesday. Perhaps the turnout is so low because people simply can't get to the polls. It's like UPS (who I hate with a passion), they attempt delivery M-F 9-5 and then either tell you to sign away their liability or go pick it up yourself. Obviously the one-day voting made more sense when there was a mere million people in this country, but I don't really see a lot of reasons why not to have, say, voting start on a Saturday. Then people who know can vote and avoid lines, and the people who like to wait can wait should they desire.
posted by hoborg at 1:35 PM on November 2, 2004

hoburg: It's called early voting. Most states have it. Barring that, you can vote early by mail.
posted by crawl at 1:43 PM on November 2, 2004

thanks putzface.

hoborg, there are so many things we need to fix about voting. Maybe it's time to start writing to our congresspeople now?
posted by amberglow at 1:44 PM on November 2, 2004

I think it was 31 states that had some form of early voting this year. It's the first time for most, but I think that's a start. We'll have to wait and see what 2004 yields.
posted by putzface_dickman at 1:44 PM on November 2, 2004

I had to wait nearly 30 seconds to vote. (West Philadelphia.)
posted by dmd at 2:35 PM on November 2, 2004

My wait to vote was 8 hours, but I knew some people who had been there for 10 and had 3 more to go due to the horrible unacceptable conditions -- only 2 voting machines, one of which was broken most of the day. Polls opened at 6:30 am with a 15 min wait; by 8:30 it was 2 hours and by 4 pm it was anywhere from 5-10 hours. It's almost 2 am and there are still a lot of voters in that building waiting for their chance to vote.
posted by somethingotherthan at 10:40 PM on November 2, 2004

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