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Advocates Say Arpaio Hasn’t Won Yet, Urge County to Count All Votes

Advocates Say Arpaio Hasn't Won Yet, Urge County to Count All Votes

I reported yesterday that after a set of hard fought races in Arizona, Tea Party Republicans logged major wins. This included another four years for Joe Arpaio, the firebrand sheriff of Maricopa County who’s made a career in harassing immigrants and treating prisoners like livestock. He was reported to have beat Democrat Paul Penzone by nearly 90,000 votes.

Based on initial results, I also reported a loss for Richard Carmona, a Democrat who ran on an anti-SB 1070 platform against Republican Jeff Flake.

Now, advocates and alternative media in Arizona are questioning these results. They say hundreds of thousands of provisional and early votes have yet to be counted.

The Latino advocacy group Presente.org sent out a petition today calling for all the votes to be counted. The petition reads, “Arpaio is leading by 90,000 votes but there are over 300,000 ballots that haven’t been counted yet—likely most are from Latino neighborhoods!”

Arizona Latinos voted early more than twice the rate they did in 2008, the NY Times reports.

New America Media’s Valeria Fernandez reports:

Arpaio’s critics, among them Unite Here, Promise Arizona and Citizens for a Better Arizona (CBA) - groups that were behind a get-out-the-vote effort — expressed concerns over a large number of provisional ballots that were cast.

“We’re focused on the people that were not allowed to vote. We’re concerned about how the county recorders run the election,” said Randy Parraz, co-founder of CBA. “There were people that were not allowed to vote at all.”

Brendan Walsh, political director with Unite Here echoed those concerns.

“We were finding that people went to the polls and were being asked to cast provisional ballots,” said Walsh, when they should have received the ballot in the mail.

The Phoenix New Times reports that a reversal is unlikely in the sheriff’s race.

The gap between Penzone and Arpaio may narow, but is likely too deep of a hole to dig out of. 

The county counted more than 44,000 ballots yesterday, but the numbers in the Penzone-Arpaio race have not budged by much. Currently the spread there is 9.48 percentage points.

But, the New Times reports:

It’s a different story when it comes to the Rich Carmona v. Jeff Flake U.S. Senate contest, where Flake is up by a mere 79,867 votes, or 4.8 percent. 

Republican golden-boy Flake must be sweating big ol’ bullets right now. Yesterday, the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office announced that there are more than 600,000 provisional and early ballots remaining statewide to be counted. According to one of the savviest political experts I know, Democrat and former legislator John Loredo, Carmona could make up that gap with that’s left to count, especially considering that many of the “late” ballots turned in at the polls will tend to be Democratic.

We’ll keep watching Arizona and send updates.

Meanwhile in Arizona, as I reported yesterday, the state’s legislature remains solidly in Republican hands. The GOP hold, however, is a little less secure. Republicans in the Arizona legislature, which has long been a testing ground for far-right policies, no longer have a super majority after Democrats picked up four seats in the Senate and a few in the House as well. 

To be sure, Republicans remain in charge in Arizona and will for at least another two years, but the Democrats small legislative gains do indicate a shifting landscape. 

Stacey Dash Sounds Off on Race, Supporting Romney and ‘Welfare’

Clueless star Stacey Dash became the object of racially charged shade when she tweeted her endorsement of a Mitt Romney presidency and posed for a picture with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

“If Romney wins we going back [to] the fields and she’s not light enough to be in the house, soooo…,” one user tweeted about the Bajan- and Mexican-American actress who was last seen on VH1’s Single Ladies. Others invoked Dave Chappelle’s NSFW “Racial Draft” skit. “Stacey Dash just got traded to white people for Robin Thicke,” wrote one user. Others requested Katy Perry and Eminem.

Now, in the wake of Obama’s reelection, the self-described fiscal conservative and newly minted conservative darling released a detailed explanation of her unpopular decision.

“People get it wrong. My vote for Romney isn’t a vote against Obama,” she reasoned in an 1,000-plus piece posted by TMZ. “Like most Americans I was insulted with the idea that Obama was only elected because he was black, that people of color wanted one of their own, regardless of what sort of leader he would make. The same idiots make the argument that white guilt is why so many Americans voted Obama into office in the first place.”

Dash, who voted for Obama in 2008, claims her Romney support was about the economy, despite her “progressive” stance on “social issues”:

I like the simplicity of the plan to lower taxes. I feel I’ve paid out a substantial amount over the 20 plus years I’ve been working. … I voted for the Romney ticket because I was inspired by their promises of working tirelessly to create a strong economy as their first objective. I have other issues that are close to my heart like equality, and women’s rights, and the benefits of strong public schools. I realize on these issues I’m entirely progressive. There are plenty of moderate Republicans who feel exactly the way I do on these issues. I don’t think we have to trade one for the other. The main objective of our nation must be repairing the economy. All our social concerns must come after this. Without a stable economy our great nation falls.

Without acknowledging blatant Republican congressional obstructionism, Dash also urges the Obama administration to “work a whole lot harder to bridge the divide between political parties.” Then, confusingly, she calls for “welfare reform” based on a stereotype of EBT users:

An elderly woman stands in the same grocery line pinching pennies to buy a can of soup while a woman is buying marshmallow fluff with food stamps. As times have changed, welfare policy needs to keep stride, just like every other issue.

The Marshmallow Fluff lobby must be extremely unhappy.

Two Maryland Women Get Engaged at Obama Rally in Chicago

Keesha Patterson of Maryland got down on one knee and proposed to her girlfriend Rowan Ha at President Obama’s victory rally Tuesday night in Chicago.

Maryland joined Maine in making history on Election Night by becoming the first states in the nation to back same-sex marriage at the ballot box. Maryland is also the first state in the Southern United States to legalize gay marriage.

Looks like it was a good night for Patterson, her favored President won, Maryland approved same-sex marriage, and Ha said yes.

election-rally-proposa2l.jpg (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

Asian American Voters Back Democrats Despite Being Ignored By Both Parties

Asian American Voters Back Democrats Despite Being Ignored By Both Parties

Asian Americans may be roughly 4 percent of the nation’s population, but their political leanings are often misunderstood or neglected altogether. An election eve poll found 51% of Asian American voters were not asked by any campaign, political party or community organization to vote or to register to vote.

While only 41 percent identify as Democrats, Asian American voters supported Barack Obama by a huge margin, with 72% voting for the President and 26% for Mitt Romney, according to The Asian American Election Eve Poll. In Congressional races, 73 percent of Asian American voters backed Democratic candidates, while 27% backed Republicans.

The Asian American Election Eve Poll surveyed 800 Asian Americans over the pre-election weekend. The poll was a joint project of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).

The vast majority of Asian American voters (58%) said that fixing the economy and creating more jobs was the most important issue that politicians should address.

“Mitt Romney had room to win the overlooked Asian American community,” said Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director of National CAPACD. “While Barack Obama’s narrative attracted Asian American voters, Mitt Romney missed an enormous opportunity to offer a direct appeal to this group.”

Another key issue for Asian American voters and perhaps the reason why they sided with Obama is healthcare.

Other key findings from the Election Eve Poll:

Health care 60% of Asian American voters supported the federal government’s role in ensuring access to health insurance, compared to 23% who believe that people should secure their own health insurance.

Budget deficit. To address the national budget deficit, 45% of Asian Americans supported a combination of tax increases and spending cuts, with 26% stating that taxes on the wealthy should be increased. Only 14% of Asian Americans supported spending cuts alone to reduce the deficit.

Immigration reform. 57% of Asian American voters supported comprehensive immigration reform, with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. This support was much higher among U.S. born Asian American citizens (73%), compared to foreign-born Asian American citizens (50%).

Undocumented youth. 35% of Asian Americans said they were more enthusiastic about President Obama because of his new policy to stop the deportation of undocumented youth who attended college or served in the military (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). 40% of Asian Americans said their vote was not affected by this policy directive, but nearly half (49%) of Asian American voters aged 18 to 30 were more enthusiastic about Obama after he announced the new policy in June 2012.

“Asian Americans were hit hard during the recession — and this poll shows that they are focused on finding solutions to the economic downturn,” Congressman Mike Honda, Chair Emeritus for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said in a statement. “This poll provides critical information about what’s important for Asian Americans and should be used as a resource for elected officials as they develop policies that will have an impact in our communities.”

Women and People of Color Will Be a Majority of Democrats in the House

Women and People of Color Will Be a Majority of Democrats in the House

Bloomberg Businessweek notes changes in the House that, in many ways, mirror the demographic shifts that have altered the country’s landscape:

Here’s more from Bloomberg:

Come January, women and minorities for the first time in U.S. history will hold a majority of the party’s House seats, while Republicans will continue to be overwhelmingly white and male. The chamber, already politically polarized, more than ever is going to be demographically polarized, too.

“One thing that’s always been very startling to me is to see that on the floor of the House of Representatives when you look over on one side where the Democrats caucus and you look to the other side and it looks like two different visions of America,” Edwards, 54, a black woman who has served in Congress since 2008, said in a telephone interview. 


Those changes are symbolic, but not enough. As Rinku Sen noted yesterday, “demographics alone aren’t going to run a policy agenda through the system.” Take a look at our roundup of racial justice thinkers making sense of the election.



Election Night Sadness: White People Mourning Mitt Romney [Photos]

Election Night Sadness: White People Mourning Mitt Romney [Photos]

Since President Obama’s re-election on Tuesday, there’s been plenty of soul searching among conservatives. But a new Tumblr shows just how deep the heartbreak is for some of Romney’s supporters. Meet the new Tumblr: White People Mourning for Romney.

Tulsi Gabbard, First Hindu-American Elected to Congress, Crushed GOP

Tulsi Gabbard, First Hindu-American Elected to Congress, Crushed GOP

On Tuesday night Tulsi Gabbard became the first Hindu-American to have entered the U.S. House of Representatives, winning her Hawaii seat by crushing her Republican rival.

Gabbard, 31, is an Iraq War veteran who born in American Samoa to a Catholic father and a Hindu mother. She has served on the Honolulu City Council and in the state Legislature.

Gabbard is a rising star earlier, earlier this year she spoke at the Democratic National Convention, appearing with U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi. I should note that her extreme margin of victory is largely due to the fact that her opponent Republican Kawika Crowley is homeless, lives in a van, and didn’t receive the backing of the Hawaii GOP party.

In an interview with Religion News Service earlier this month, Gabbard said she hopes to be a bridge between cultures and nations. “Hopefully the presence in Congress of an American who happens to be Hindu will increase America’s understanding of India as well as India’s understanding of America,” she said.

“Although there are not very many Hindus in Hawaii, I never felt discriminated against. I never really gave it a second thought growing up that any other reality existed, or that it was not the same everywhere,” Tulsi said in a statement Tuesday, the New York Daily News reported.

The Washington Post points out the two highest-profile Indian-American politicians are both Republicans and converts to Christianity: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was raised Hindu, while South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was raised Sikh.

Gabbard, whose first name refers to a tree sacred to Hindus, follows the Vaishnava branch of Hinduism that believes in the Supreme Lord Vishnu, and his 10 primary incarnations.

Miami TV Reporter at Obama Rally Confuses Will.i.am for Wyclef Jean

Miami TV Reporter at Obama Rally Confuses Will.i.am for Wyclef Jean

Just take a look at Miami’s WSVN-TV reporter’s nod at the 0:19 second mark. He thought he was being so slick.

(h/t Gawker)

Redistricting Protects the 2010 Republican Surge in State Legislatures

Republicans are no doubt feeling sour today after Romney’s defeat and a failed attempt to take control of the Senate. And while last night’s elections were a victory for Democrats, a deeper examination of the post-election playing field suggests Republicans remain well positioned to pursue a conservative agenda just as aggressively as they have for the last two years.

This is especially true in the states where for the last two years tea party candidates used Republican majorities to push a radical policy agenda. In the wake of yesterday’s elections, Republican control of state politics appears largely unchanged.

The 2010 election was a wave for Republicans, launching conservatives into control of a 29 governor’s mansions and 59 of the country’s 98 partisan state legislative chambers. This put Republicans in position to dominate the shape of state policy, passing dozens of bills restricting abortion access and voting rights, maligning the safety-net and attacking immigrants.

After last night, the numbers look nearly the same.

Jackie Lacey Becomes Los Angeles’ First Black District Attorney

Jackie Lacey Becomes Los Angeles' First Black District Attorney

This year’s race for Los Angeles District attorney is in the history books in more ways than one. On Tuesday night, Jackie Lacey became first woman and African American to ever hold the office.

“When you look at my resume and what I’ve accomplished and the experience I had that was relevant to running that office, I had those things. And what the voters of L.A. County said was that the fact that I am a woman, the fact that I’m African American has no bearing on it.”

Lacey, a registered Democrat, had endorsements from California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as well as the current Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who is retiring after three terms

Lacey won 55 percent of the votes. Running against her was veteran prosecutor Alan Jackson.

Did Obama’s Victory Speech Include Nod to DREAMers?

Did Obama's Victory Speech Include Nod to DREAMers?

During President Barack Obama’s victory speech Tuesday night he briefly spoke about the “dreams of an immigrant’s daughter,” perhaps alluding to a select number of undocumented sons and daughters in the country who could have a path to citizenship with the DREAM Act.

“We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag, to the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner, to the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president,” Obama said during his victory party in Chicago in the early hours of Wednesday.

Insiders say it’s safe to assume he was speaking about DREAMers but note Obama didn’t get to that position on his own.

“Obama was very clearly referencing the immigrant youth who he’s supported with his backing of the DREAM Act and deferred action,” said Julianne Hing, Colorlines.com immigration reporter. “But it should be noted that his support came largely because immigrant youth have put his feet to the fire and relentlessly demanded more humane treatment of undocumented youth and their families.”

But while Obama has been open about letting young undocumented people with “good moral character” have a path to citizenship, his administration has deported an unprecedented number of immigrants.

“We are hopeful that in his second term-when he no longer has to worry about re-election-that the President will be in a better position to advance a national and international agenda that represents the interests of the majority,” read a statement from PresenteAction, the largest online latino advocacy group.

“Millions of Latinos supported the President in his re-election with the very clear expectation that he will expand the use of his executive authority to provide relief to the millions of other immigrants facing a difficult situation because of initiatives like the SCOMM program, which many of us want the President to either fundamentally alter or abolish altogether because of the documented pain, discrimination and fear caused by this program. While it’s clear that the President must exert real leadership on a congressional solution on immigration reform, we expect the President to act immediately to stop the suffering of our families,” PresenteAction’s statement went on to say.

Arpaio Gets Another Four Years to Harass Latinos In An Unchanged Arizona

Arpaio Gets Another Four Years to Harass Latinos In An Unchanged Arizona

Latinos in Phoenix went to bed last night with the news that they’ll face another four years of harassment from Joe Arpaio and his deputies. The 80-year-old sheriff told supporters at his victory party that he looks forward to another term “just enforcing the law,” by which he tends to mean racial profiling and prisoner abuse. The Arpaio victory is not a surprise, but it is a disappointment for immigrant and civil rights advocates who hoped the county was ready to turn a corner.

Arpaio’s victory came amid a generally good day for Republicans in the state, despite Democratic hopes that the party could turn the state by organizing Latino residents. Arizona has acted as a testing ground for far-right laws that incubated in the imaginations and white papers of conservative think tanks. Despite two years of organizing to register growing numbers of Latinos, and waning support for bills like the state’s SB 1070 in the face of broad national challenges, it appears that Arizona may still be a Tea Party petri dish.

Polling Places 2012: Cute Kids Edition [Photos]

On Election Day, we heard lots of reports of folks standing in line for hours to vote. But what about the kids who came with their parents to their polling places — kids who must have felt that the wait took days?

Take a look at some of the future voters below.


Washington, D.C.

dc-babies-12.jpg

Children from Kingdom Kinds Child Development Center march past a polling station to get out the vote at Dunbar High School on November 6, 2012 in Washington, DC.


Cambridge, Massachusetts 

book-babies-at-polling-booths.jpg

Alice Vu, 5, read a book, ‘The Hungry Kitten,’ while waiting outside a polling station on Lexington Avenue in Cambridge on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6 2012. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Obama Wins Re-Election, But Mixed Results on Ballot Initiatives

Obama Wins Re-Election, But Mixed Results on Ballot Initiatives

While eyes were glued to television screens waiting for word on the president, votes were still being tallied in a set of state ballot initiatives about the lives of people of color, women, immigrants and the working folks. Here’s a quick rundown of the results in key ballot measures.

Last night we reported some decidedly mixed early results. Oklahoma voters banned affirmative action in government hiring and public education, while Maryland voters broadly approved a state DREAM Act, granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants.

As Maryland made itself more inclusive of undocumented immigrants, Montana voters excluded undocumented immigrations from state services. A measure there requires state agencies check the immigration status of anyone applying for state permits, licenses, disability benefits, state employment and services for crime victims. The ACLU warns that on top of its impact on immigrants, the law would exclude many citizens who lack needed identification.

With Obama’s Win, He’ll Need to Send More Than a Thank You Note to Latinos

With Obama's Win, He'll Need to Send More Than a Thank You Note to Latinos

The steady browning of the nation is the undeniable reality in the nation’s future—no surprise there. Latinos translating their growing numbers into electoral power in key states like Florida, Colorado, Arizona and Virginia which have the power to win elections. It’s a growing electoral power that advocates have hinted at for years, and we are seeing the first evidence of the night bearing that out.

In Florida for example, where Obama is holding on to a steady but narrow lead, the showing of Latino voters was up. They were 15 percent of Florida’s vote in 2008 and 17 percent of the vote tonight, according to CNN exit polls. And Latino voters were 11 percent of those who turned out in Colorado, surpassing the 8.7 percent that even (Latino political organizations)[http://www.naleo.org/latinovote.html] expected them to make up. In Arizona, where Romney’s got a comfortable lead and may likely win, Latino voters were still nearly one in five of those who voted—and were expected to be just 12 percent of those who turned out.

So critical is the Latino vote that the Romney camp projected it would need to take home 38 percent of the Latino vote in order to win, The Hill reported. For some context, that’s a seven-point jump from the 31 percent of the Latino vote that John McCain won in 2008. But Latino voters, then as now, overwhelmingly supported President Obama tonight, and in states like Colorado by a near-50-point margin. Latinos cite among their top concerns the economy, immigration and the DREAM Act and education, according to Election eve polling conducted by (Latino Decisions)[http://www.latinospost.com/articles/6522/20121106/2012-presidential-election-voter-turnout-latino-voters-arizona.htm], and have backed the president to deliver on those concerns.

The nation saw a glimpse of the Latino vote’s power in the 2010 midterms when Latino voters saved the West for the Democrats, holding back an onslaught of Republican and tea-party-backed senate and gubernatorial candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Meg Whitman in California, respectively.

Follow the rest of the election returns with us at Colorlines.com.

Bill O’Reilly: ‘The White Establishment is Now the Minority’ [VIDEO]

Bill O'Reilly: 'The White Establishment is Now the Minority' [VIDEO]

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly said tonight that if President Barack Obama is re-elected, it’s because the demographics of the country have changed and “it’s not a traditional America anymore.”

O’Reilly:

“The white establishment is now the minority,” O’Reilly said. “And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You are going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”

“The demographics are changing,” he said. “It’s not a traditional America anymore.” O’Reilly said 50 percent of the voting public are people who “want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it, and he ran on it.”

“He’s right,” Colorlines.com publisher Rinku Sen tweeted in response to O’Reilly’s comments.

For more updates from election night, visit the Colorlines.com live blog.

What’s the Scope of Voter Suppression in this Election?

What's the Scope of Voter Suppression in this Election?

It’s too early to tell, but here’s a sampling of anecdotal reports from our community journalists spread out around the country that are unconfirmed but offer a sense of the problem.

Meagan Ortiz has the following from California:

[Voter] ID problems continue to occur across the country. In Los Angeles County, in a predominantly Latino and African-American neighborhood, a woman reported that voters were being asked to present a California state driver’s license or ID in order to vote.

In Jefferson County, Colorado, which includes the city of Lakewood, a pollworker was unaware that a utility bill is acceptable form of identification. At first the voter was told to file a provisional ballot but she insisted and verified she was on voting list. Eventually she was allowed to vote via a regular ballot.

From Kemi Bellow in Texas:

College students in Terre Haute, Indiana were made to stand in a separate line to cast their ballot. When a voter and college student attempted to vote, her ballot was taken away from her by a poll official, who told her that she would not be able to vote. The poll worker then reportedly told her that the ballots of the other college students would be destroyed.

Election Protection has also received multiple reports from Minnesota that poll workers were informing voters that “not voting for the constitutional amendments is the same as voting no,” perhaps in an attempt to influence voting behavior.

At Camp Navajo in Arizona, a voter called in to explain that she was required to submit photo identification, when Arizona law only requires ID.

Here’s what Meta Mendel-Reyes is reporting from Kentucky:

In Detroit Michigan, https://electionawareness.appspot.com/report/3328255703”>according to Election Protection, District 13 is demanding drivers licenses. People are not being allowed to vote even if they have a voter ID card., nor are they being given the option of signing an affidavit saying they don’t have ID.

In Cottageville, SC, a https://electionawareness.appspot.com/report/3328256935”>voter had allegedly had his military identification rejected and he was asked to show a driver’s license, even though a photo id is not required under state law until 2013. He reported that the election officials did not seem to know about the law.

From Hermelinda Cortes in Virginia:

Across the country, voters are also being sent to the wrong polling locations. In Springfield, MA, redistricting changes sent voters to multiple locations before finding the correct one. In Staunton, VA a voter was told that they had to return to a former polling station from a former address and was turned away. In San Francisco, CA, an official city elections map is sending people to the wrong neighborhood.

For months, our Voting Rights Watch team has been reporting on voter suppression news from across the country. And, finally, today’s the day. Stay tuned for more once we’re able to confirm these reports.

Pennsylvania’s Spanish-Speaking Voters Face Barriers at the Polls

Pennsylvania's  Spanish-Speaking Voters Face Barriers at the Polls

Our Voting Rights Watch community journalists are watching the polls today. So far, Election Protection monitors are getting lots of reports of individual dustups, particularly around the voter ID laws. James Cersonsky sends in this latest report from Pennsylvania:

Reports continue to pour in about voter ID misinformation in Pennsylvania. Meredith McCoy from the Lawyer’s Committee tells Voting Rights Watch that signs have been up in Harrisburg and Dauphin Counties stating that photo IDs are required. In Erie County, she says, one polling place has told voters that “although some places don’t require ID, this one does.” Community journalist Meta Mendel-Reyes writes that a voter was wrongly rejected from the polls in Oley for not having ID, while the city of Berwick has signs stating that ID is required. Voting Rights Watch Community Journalist *Maegan Ortiz *reports that similar posters have been up in the Philadelphia suburb of Havertown.

Meanwhile, Spanish-speaking voters at several polling places in North Philly have been left without interpreters, Ceiba’s Will Gonzalez tells Voting Rights Watch. “It would be akin to opening a polling place without electricity,” he says. In some cases, poll workers have asked Spanish-speaking voters to put their name on a list for follow-up, making many voters uneasy. Adds Gonzalez: “Any delay is denial on this thing.”

Philadelphia’s Latino population has also had issues with voters not showing up on the rolls and being forced to fill out provisional ballots—or walk away in frustration. As Philadelphia’s City Paper reports, provisional ballots, a theme across the city today, require extra follow-up from voters after they’ve filled out their forms. Absentee ballots have also been an issue. As Luke McKinstry from the Committee of Seventy tells Voting Rights Watch, numerous voters have called in saying that they haven’t received their ballots even after submitting absentee applications well in advance.

The Committee of Seventy office, which I visited this afternoon, is a phone-ringing nightmare. “Usually with federal elections it’ll die down [mid-afternoon]—people doing crossword puzzles,” President and CEO Zack Stalberg says. “I haven’t seen anything like this before.”

Earlier today, Aura Bogado reported from Colorado that Latino voters in that state are also facing stiff challenges at the polls. For more, keep up with breaking Election Day news over our liveblog.

Voters in Predominantly Black Ohio Suburb Forced to Cast Provisional Ballots

Voters in Predominantly Black Ohio Suburb Forced to Cast Provisional Ballots

A number of residents in Forest Park, a predominantly black suburb outside Cincinnati, are reporting they’re being forced to cast provisional ballots because records incorrectly show they already submitted an absentee-ballot.

The state Board of Election says the issue was caused by a “human error” but Forest Park residents—65% of them who are black—will still have to file a provisional ballot

WKRC-TV has more details about the “human error” thats preventing msny Forest Park voters from casting their ballots today:

We learned of it from a couple who lives in Forest Park and who vote at Word of Deliverance Church. When Acquanitia and Thomas Moxley showed up this morning, a poll worker said that they already voted absentee. The Moxley’s contend they never requested an absentee ballot-nor did they fill one out. They say they’ve voted at the polls every year since they turned 18 years old.

Precinct officials told them to cast a provisional ballot. Wilson went down to the Board of Elections, where the deputy director checked the official list and confirmed the Moxley’s story.

Meanwhile, other voters began reporting similar problems. Officials finally figured out that human error is to blame and affects the voters at only that Forest Park polling. Those voters will be asked to cast a provisional ballot. Officials will wait ten days to count the votes-but they will be counted.

Ohio has 18 electoral votes and it’s important to note that no Republican candidate has won the presidency without carrying the state.

Faulty Electronic Touchscreen Voting Machine Votes for Anyone But Obama

UPDATE 6:10pm EST Andy Hirsch, another Pennsylvania voter attempting to vote for President Obama today ran into a similar issue and uploaded a video of his experience. “Exercising our right to vote shouldn’t be difficult, nor should it test our faith in the system,” Hirsch wrote.

……….

A central Pennsylvania voter reminded the country why plenty of people have so much paranoia about casting ballots on electronic voting machines. They break, while they’re supposed to be delivering future-altering votes in national elections.

The voter, who was trying to cast his ballot with his wife today wrote that after having his vote switched to Mitt Romney when he intended to vote for President Obama he, “assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney.”

He writes about the ordeal of trying to figure out how to fool the machine into letting him cast a ballot for Obama:

Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney’s name and started tapping very closely together to find the ‘active areas’. From the top of Romney’s button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama’s name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein’s button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.

The machine was eventually taken offline, and “recalibrated,” and returned to service, Mother Jones reported.

But there are reports that the faulty machinery is taking an agnostic approach to whose votes it wants to mess up. Last week a voter in Marion County, Ohio tried to vote for Mitt Romney on an electronic touchscreen machine, but her vote was automatically switched to a vote for President Obama, The Marion Star reported.

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