This is it. Election day. Early reports from the polls indicate it’s chaotic. There are numerous accounts of confusion and voter intimidation in states with newly enacted voter ID laws. Poll workers who haven’t been properly trained and don’t know the rules. Many reports of ID being requested only from voters of color. There’s at least one confirmed report of a voting machine flipping Obama votes to Romney in Pennsylvania.
In Florida, an election office sent out a robocall wrongly telling voters they had until tomorrow to file ballots. In some precincts people are waiting hours in line and then told they have to vote in a different place. In Ohio, there are reports of election clerks refusing to give ballots to voters, claiming they had already voted, when in fact they never requested absentee ballots.
Many reports of equipment breakdowns at polling stations are causing huge backups in the lines. People from affluent white neighborhoods are reporting no problems and short waits. In predominately black and other minority voter precincts, waits of as long as seven or eight hours are being reported.
Most disturbing are the reports of Republican poll watchers intimidating voters in line. They are targeting districts with large populations of people of color. They are wrongly asking to see IDs and in some places asking for names and telling people they won’t be allowed to vote. Gratefully there are a few precincts in Ohio where they’ve been foiled, because the conservative group True the Vote forged signatures to gain access and were barred by the court. These a just a few of numerous reports of problems. Also see this interactive map of voting problems (scroll to bottom to get to a form where you can report your own). I’m also retweeting and saving links to selected reports in my favorites folder on twitter.
It’s clear the Republicans don’t think they can win on the merits of their policies and are trying to steal this election. The best protection we have against allowing this to happen is a massive Democratic turnout. If you’re a voter of color be prepared to wait. Dress warmly and bring snacks. Remember, no one has a right to harass you. Stand your ground. And if you’re a victim of voter intimidation, here’s what to do:
No matter where you live, even in “safe” districts, the popular vote tally is critical in this election. Every single vote counts — this time more than ever. So vote like your future depends on it. It does.
And remember, if you’re in line when the polls close, they have to let you cast your ballot. It’s the law.