The AFL-CIO Voter Protection rapid response team has dispatched a team of lawyers to Summit County, Ohio, where there have been reports from across the country about problems with voting machines, lack of paper ballots, moved polling places and other issues.
In one precinct, some voters were in line from 6:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. before finally voting with provisional ballots.
Akron City Councilman Marco Sommerville told the Akron Beacon Journal that he complained to the Summit County Board of Elections that there were not enough voting booths [machines] at St. John CME Church, where 1,400 voters are expected to vote. There are only nine booths he said, and the Board of Elections is required to provide one booth for every 100 voters. “People are waiting in line two hours to vote.”
He also said there had been complaints from voters at another site where more than 4,400 people were expected to cast ballots today who cited the lack of voting booths.
This is clearly voter suppression. That’s what it is. Hopefully, people will stand in line a little longer and be patient.
Lori Whitson of Akron, a member of the AFL-CIO’s Voter Protection coalition who was monitoring another poll site told the paper, “We’re here to make sure everyone knows what their rights are and to make sure things go smoothly for everyone.”
After they voted, she asked voters to fill out a survey about their voting experience with questions about the length of their wait to vote, the type of voter machine they used and other questions.
The Election Protection coalition urges all voters to call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) if they have questions or there is confusion at the polls. The hotline is staffed by trained legal volunteers. Spanish-speaking voters can call 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota (1-888-839-8682) to report issues as well.