We’re tracking and reporting polling problems throughout Colorado. Having difficulty casting a ballot? Encountering long lines? Concerned about the veracity of rumors? Let us know.
Note: Since the TwitterVoteReport interactive map is taking so long to load, we’ve removed it temporarily. You can find it here.
8:30 a.m. – Naomi Zeveloff reports:
Election protection groups are already reporting that some 700 Colorado voters have called 866-Our-Vote to report problems casting a ballot.
According to a statement from Just Vote Colorado and Election Protection:
Significant problems at the polls include:
– Voter Registration & Provisional Ballot Confusion
– Lack of privacy for voters with disabilities
– Problems with both paper and electronic poll books
9:00 a.m. – 9News is reporting that Christ Community Church at East Hampden Ave. and South Colorado Boulevard, they’re “having issues” with the alphabetical listing of some of the voters. Denver election workers are “looking into it.”
10:41 a.m. – Colorado Common Cause reports voting problems throughout the state.
The polls have been open for just over three hours in Colorado, and voting rights groups are already fielding complaints from anxious voters. On a 10:00 a.m. conference call, Colorado Common Cause executive directer Jenny Flanagan said that her organization, along with Just Vote Colorado and the Election Protection Coalition, had received the following information about voting problems around the state. Flanagan said that she was working to verify the reports, and speaking with county clerks and the Colorado secretary of state to nip the issues in the bud.
El Paso County: Reports that long lines at the Colorado College polling place have prompted some students to leave without casting a ballot.
Arapahoe County: Reports of vote flipping on electronic voting machines; reports that voters are concerned about the lack of a paper record coming from the machines.
Denver County: Reports of polling places lacking essential supplies, like secrecy envelopes for the ballots.
Weld County: Reports that voters are unable to get information in Spanish.
Flanagan also reported an overuse of provisional ballots, in which people who are eligible to vote by regular ballot are handed a provisional form that will be counted after Election Day.
“This is what I expected to see today,” she said. “We all go into elections thinking we are as prepared as can be. But the rules get complicated. Our election judges are terrific and our counties are working hard. Things do fall through the cracks.”
11:14 a.m. Voters report that election workers at the polling place at Christ Community Church in Denver didn’t have the paper voter registry for letters G through T when the polls opened. Voters with last names in that range were not allowed to vote regular ballots until election workers managed to dispatch a copy to the site. Many of the affected voters were given a provisional ballot and voted. However, as many as 30 people waited to cast a regular ballot and left without voting after waiting as long as 90 minutes, according to 7News.
• Numerous reports that voters were unable to obtain absentee ballots in time to cast their votes;
• Reports of poll workers requiring additional and unnecessary identification from voters in Denver;
• Incidents of untrained poll workers and faulty voting machines in Jefferson County; and,
• Reports of voters being asked to fill out provisional ballots if they are in the wrong precinct instead of being redirected to the appropriate location.
During MSNBC Live’s Election Day coverage, MSNBC continually aired graphics that purported to show “POLL CLOSING” times for each state. But in states that cross over time zones, the times listed in the graphics reflected the western-most time zone in the state, in which polls close an hour later than the rest of the state. Thus, people watching MSNBC in the eastern portion of some states could be left with the impression that local polls would be open for an hour after they actually close.
12:58 p.m. Denver has fallen slightly short of its goal for recruiting at least one bilingual poll worker for all 185 precincts in the county on Election Day — a goal that went above and beyond federal requirements. It’s not known at the moment exactly how close the city got to the number.
Federal law requires that 133 out of the 185 of voting precincts to have bilingual poll workers available, and city officials are clear to state that they will have no problem with that requirement. The extra bilingual poll workers recruited this year will now be sent to precincts that are determined to be in need of them the most.
3:00 p.m. Reports are streaming out of Weld County that Hispanic voters are leaving polling places without voting because voter information, including ballots, had not been translated into Spanish and because of a lack of translators available at polling places.
4:08 p.m.Two police officers in Greeley have been illegally checking voters’ identification at a polling place near the University of North Colorado. According to Sarah Brannon with the Fair Elections Legal Network, two election lawyers have been dispatched to seek their immediate removal.
4:33 p.m. – An election protection site reports voter misinformation could be keeping up with the times — moving beyond the usual overnight flyers and hard-to-trace, erroneous phone calls. The OurVoteLive blog says Heather Smith of Rock the Vote reports young voters are receiving the following inaccurate text message on Tuesday:
Due to long lines today, all Obama voters are asked to vote on Wednesday. Thank you for your cooperation.
Of course, neither Obama nor McCain voters will be able to vote on Wednesday — polls are already closing on the East Coast and are only open until 7 p.m. in Colorado. Not even Ralph Nader supporters can cast their ballots on Wednesday. In Colorado, anyone in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote, but that’s really, truly, the final deadline. Even for Bob Barr voters.
The OurVoteLive site is part of the 1-866-OUR-VOTE (687-8683) voter protection effort. Call the number with questions or concerns and to report problems voting.
8:20 p.m. – Election Protection and Just Vote Colorado are reporting a fairly problem-free election in comparison to significant issues with long voting lines and faulty electronic pollbooks in 2006. But some problems persist, according to a statement released this evening:
· Provisional ballots were given out wholesale at the first sign of a registration problem. Polling places did not do enough to resolve issues on the spot so that the voter could vote a regular ballot. Provisional ballots are intended to be a failsafe ballot for any voter who has a problem, but it’s not the best first option because it requires an extra step before the ballots are counted. Election judges are supposed to check with the county clerks before giving provisional ballot to see if they can solve the problem first, that was not happening in many polling places today.
· Weld County had major problems due to polling places not having bilingual poll workers. Although Weld is not required to provide Spanish language materials, Greeley has a large population of Spanish speaking voters. Local community groups on the ground fought to get bilingual translators to meet the statutory requirement for assistance for voters who needed it.
· There was also a presence by county sheriffs and police at polling places at a few locations in Greeley. One of them was called because of an incident earlier in the day. In one instance, there was a uniformed sheriff checking ID. Police officers have an intimidating effect and may have driven people away from the polls.
· Deceptive practices were also reported by voters in Colorado. The text messages and robo calls that were distributed to voters throughout the country, giving misinformation about voting dates and locations, also reached some Colorado voters. Reports include text messages directing Democrats to vote on Wednesday as well as robo calls aimed at suppressing voter turnout among GOP voters.
· There were supply problems around the state. Precincts running out of ballots, envelopes, and secrecy sleeves were a problem for voters, especially earlier in the day.