Registration Problems, Long Lines May Mar Election - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

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If only hanging chads were the country’s biggest headache this election year. Instead, voting irregularities in 2008 are taking the form of faulty voting machines, confusing ballots, hours-long waits in line, missing absentee ballots, and unfiled voter registration forms.

Long lines were the most exasperating problem affecting early voters for this election. States that allowed early voting saw record waiting times, some lasting more than five hours. Many states instituted early voting as a solution to long lines on Election Day, only to find that lines before Election Day can be just as worrisome.

With 10 million extra voters descending on polls this year compared to 2004, early voting seemed like a plausible remedy to the long lines. However, voters who can’t physically stand for long periods of time, who need to return to work, or to care for a small child or elderly relative are still finding that voting is a huge inconvenience.

These long lines can be a result of faulty voting machines; a problem that still plagues some states four years after the voting machine debacle of 2004 that left some predominantly democratic areas in Ohio with only one working machine for thousands of voters.

This time around, instead of just breaking down, machines are also flipping votes. For example, in West Virginia’s Jackson County, voters are reporting that voting machines are recording the wrong vote.

Workers who tested voting machines in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, found that the vote for president was not being logged. Election officials said that real voters never used the machines and attributed the problems to screen calibration issues, which once calibrated disappeared.

Experts are predicting that voter turnout will be higher this year than the 2004 turnout and it may be the highest turnout since 1960, reported the Associated Press on Friday. A higher voter turnout means that these isolated problems might be much more widespread on Election Day. More than 29 million people in 30 states have already voted, according to partial state and county data provided to the Associated Press.

In an effort to get a handle on all of the voting irregularities and help voters who are confused about their registration status on Election Day the Election Protection Coalition created a “Hot Map” at The site collects, analyzes, and projects data from call centers across the country onto this live map, which provides detail about the location and nature of problem calls. In addition to the thousands of calls they’ve already been receiving on a daily basis, the organization expects over 200,000 voter requests for information and assistance on Election Day.

As of Election Day eve, almost 5,500 problems across the country have been reported to the Web site. Some of the more recent ones feature newly posted reports that Indiana voters have been turned away as voting centers are closing at noon, robo calls or automated calls were made in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, deceptively informing voters to vote on Nov.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.