Even though the votes are now in, voting issues were reported throughout the United States, including in Florida, during the national presidential election. The complaints began pouring in shortly after the polls opened to voters. In Florida, at least one county suffered from an impromptu voting announcement stating that voting would begin one day after it actually would. Further north, in Pennsylvania, at least one voter said a voting instrument changed his presidential vote from Obama to Romney.
Reports say the first wave of voting complaints in Florida began on Tuesday when an automated phone call system told people in Pinellas County that voting began on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. The blip occurred when calls intended for Monday, which told people voting began the next day and ended at 7PM, were re-sent on Tuesday. The messages misrepresented the actual voting times Tuesday, telling people that voting would not start until the next day. The calls may have affected voters in Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg.
Pennsylvania also played host to a range of voting-related complaints. Republican Party representatives in Philadelphia reported Tuesday that Democratic voters were barring them from approaching voting outlets within the city. The 75 officially credentialed GOP voting examiners were not able to enter the areas until they procured a court order from a district judge. Authorities conducted an investigation of the allegations; however, it is unclear whether they have accused anyone of any wrongdoing.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital, was also the scene of a voting-related glitch. On Tuesday, a video surfaced on the internet showing an alleged problem with one voting machine’s mechanics. In the video, the voter recorded a polling machine automatically changing his vote for President from one for Barack Obama to one for Mitt Romney. A spokesperson from the Pennsylvania Department of State said the glitch was only a momentary hiccup and that the officials promptly serviced and fixed the error. So far, there appears to be no signs of wrongdoing.
Earlier this year, Pennsylvania enacted a new voter ID law that requires voters to display their photo ID when they vote. However, a state judge placed that law on hold for Tuesday’s presidential election because there was reason to believe that many voters did not have enough time to comply with the new law before the election. This temporary hold did not extend to all portions of the state, reports say. Some polling places continued to demand photo ID from voters even though it was not required, sources indicate.
“There seems to be a lot of confusion about voter ID. Apparently the poll workers were not adequately trained,” an executive director of Common Cause in Pennsylvania said. It is not yet known how many voters may have been turned away from voting due to this misunderstanding.
Representatives from the Election Protection coalition also reported errors with ballot readers in Ohio and cities such as Toledo, Dayton, and Cleveland. In other cities, such as Tampa Florida, some voters were rerouted to different elector offices and were forced to cast an alternative form of ballots.