Drunken Mob Attacks Election Headquarters
Slate's rolling state-by-state coverage of the best polling disasters.
Updated Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006, at 2:51 PM
Something interesting: reports of Democrats harassing Republicans in Ohio. In Michigan, the GOP is suing Democratic poll watchers for speaking to voters. And in Colorado, Latino voters are allegedly being summarily informed that, as Latinos, they are ineligible to vote at all. It gets worse. In Arizona, Hispanic voters are allegedly being harassed at gunpoint.
In New Jersey, we're hearing GOP allegations that the voting machines in at least seven polling places have been rigged to favor the Dems. While MoveOn.org is going to make it worth your while to stumble onto fraud or voter suppression: They're offering a $250,000 bounty for material evidence of fraud. Nice work if you can get it.
We're hearing confirmation now of the weird Maryland scheme to bus in the homeless to disseminate misleading campaign materials. And readers are pointing us to instances of computer shenanigans that have felled campaign Web sites. Readers also warn us that these incidents are either being staged or exaggerated to con us chumps in the media. Looking at some of the video footage we're seeing, it's hard to disagree.
Finally, for now: Add Chelsea Clinton to your list of famous folks who had trouble voting. And add us to the folks poring over the exit polls.
Rage Against the Machine: A left-wing conspiracy theorist smashed a voting machine in Allentown, Pa., with a paperweight, compromising more than 130 logged votes. Electronic voting machines are malfunctioning in precincts across the country, driving some stations to use paper ballots. Indiana officials have extended polling hours, after hundreds of incorrectly programmed machines stalled voting in two counties this morning. Computers on the fritz caused two-hour delays in some Denver precincts. And the volume of calls about voting-machine troubles crashed the telephone system used by the Franklin County, Ohio, government. * How easy is it to break into a Diebold touch-screen voting machine to alter the votes? Watch this video.
Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham is urging her listeners to flood Democratic voting-rights hot lines with crank calls. The system is already so overwhelmed it drops callers. Listen to the segment here. Send Laura your hate mail here. Related: Yesterday, a conservative Sacramento, Calif., radio station used the Emergency Broadcast System to disseminate a paid political ad.
An election worker asked Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to show identification three times when she voted (absentee) last Friday—despite a new state law allowing the use of nonphoto voter ID cards. Related: An Ohio congressman and the governor of South Carolina were turned away from the polls this morning because they lacked adequate identification and proof of registration.
No depths are too low: Maryland's Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s campaign allegedly bused in workers from out of state, including at least one recruited at a homeless shelter, to distribute inaccurate sample ballots in front of polling places today.
Aggregated Outrage: If you want to spend the day in a welter of jittery paranoia, you have two good choices: You can get really, really stoned. Or you can log onto one of the many watchdog Web sites tracking the outrages unfolding at polling places nationwide. Claims of vote suppression, fraud, intimidation, machine failure, and telephonic harassment are rolling in fast and furious. Are we headed for a constitutional crisis?
Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate.
Blake Wilson is a Slate contributor and former Slate editor.
Illustration by Vivian Selbo. Photograph of voter on Slate's home page by Joshua Roberts courtesy of Getty Images.