Thousands of Complaints on Election Day Trickery

Photo: Voters Make 15,000 Complaint Calls: From Ballot Problems to Political Dirty Tricks
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Voters flooded a hotline with more than 15,000 complaint calls on Election Day, reporting problems ranging from jammed balloting machines to political dirty tricks.

"We've seen an uptick in voter deception and attempts at intimidation," said Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Law.

The lawyers' committee runs the Election Protection program, which urges voters to register any Election Day problems, innocent or otherwise, by tweeting or calling a hotline manned by 2,000 trained volunteers.

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Along with the usual calls about long lines at polling places, the watchdog group responded to complaints about unfair politicking. In Wake County, N.C., volunteers said they curtailed the overzealous campaigning of a Republican worker handing out leaflets too close to a polling place. In El Paso County, Colo., volunteers asked a store owner to stop displaying a misleading sign urging Democrats to vote on Wednesday, a day too late.

Similarly, Election Protection received complaints from voters in Southern California that Spanish-language pre-recorded calls were being placed throughout the Los Angeles area reminding them to vote on Wednesday, Nov. 3 -- one day after the election.

Reports of attempted voter deception surfaced elsewhere in the country. In Kansas, Attorney General Steve Six is investigating a mysterious robo-call that went out over the weekend falsely advising voters they are required to show "proof of home ownership" at the polls in order to vote.

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In Texas, a predominantly black neighborhood in Houston was papered with flyers that incorrectly warned voters that casting their ballot straight down the Democratic ticket would cancel out their votes. The flyer says it is from a group called "Black Democratic Trust of Texas," which doesn't appear to exist, and warns "Republicans are trying to trick us!"

In Nevada, meanwhile, internal documents claimed to have been leaked by a Harrah's employee indicate casino executives pushed the work force to get out and vote in an apparent attempt to bolster Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's campaign. The Democratic veteran is in a fight for his political life against Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle. The Harrah's documents indicate that supervisors were instructed to enter a code to explain why any employee had not voted. Calls placed by ABC to Harrah's requesting a response were not returned.

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And in Ohio, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has launched an investigation after hundreds of workers at a McDonald's franchise received a payday letter from their boss endorsing Republican candidates for governor and Congress.

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By 3 p.m. on Election Day, the Election Protection hotline was flooded with over 15,000 calls, most of them pouring in from California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York and Georgia.

"Most of the problems we have seen today are cracks in the infrastructure of the election system," said Arnwine. "There were voter registration problems in Texas, voting machine confusion in New York and poorly trained workers in Michigan."

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