As of 3 p.m., the 1-866-MY-VOTE1 hotline has received nearly 50,000 calls. Unity ’08 state coordinators reported on some of the stories behind the calls.
Helen Butler reported machine breakdowns in one precinct; voters are using paper ballots. There are long lines but black folks ain’t going nowhere. People not on the voter lists are not being given a provisional ballot. At one precinct, voters were given misinformation and told that if they didn’t vote for down-ticket races, their vote wouldn’t count.
Debra Robinson reported “everything is great. There is a record turnout in rural areas in the Jackson-Hinds County area.
Gwendolyn Grant reported some folks had lined up before 5 a.m. When the polls opened, there were hundreds of people in line. “Right now, things are going fairly well.”
Petee Talley reported there were isolated incidents and warned about an emerging problem in Cincinnati. She said there will be some issues with provisional ballots, but “right now, things are pretty calm.”
Carmen Watkins reported that as of 2 p.m., 40 percent of registered voters in Harris County (Houston) had voted. “If it starts raining, we could have some problems.”
Lavern Chatman reported long lines but no major problems. At precincts in Northern Virginia, Fairfax, Reston and Newport News, machines malfunctioned. People were not given paper ballots so some left without voting. The NAACP may file a lawsuit to extend polling hours so that people can come back and vote.
Cynthia Downs Taylor reported heavy rains in the Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads area. There are long lines at predominately black precincts, but people refused to get out of line. At the Central Gardens precinct in Henrico County, there were long lines and five machines malfunctioned. Ironically, the county registrar had dismissed an earlier NAACP lawsuit as “much ado about nothing.”