High Voter Turnout Puts Groups on Alert for Voting Fraud
November 3, 2008
FOX News-Government officials and voting rights watchdog groups will be keeping a close eye of the polls around the country Tuesday, trying to keep lines of voters moving and to make sure that everyone can cast a ballot in what is anticipated to be a record election turnout. The US Department of Justice and groups such as the nonpartisan Fair Elections Legal Network are keeping a particularly watchful eye on battleground states like Ohio and Virginia.
High Turnout Is the Number One Concern of the US Department of Justice and Third Party Groups
The president of an independent elections group stated, "The main thing that we all know is that there's going to be a huge turnout. There are going to be long lines, and any problems that occur will exacerbate because of those lines," said Robert M. Brandon, president of the Fair Elections Legal Network. "We always worry about whether there are an adequate number of resources, particularly voting machines," Brandon said.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is going to Federal Court on Monday in Eastern Virginia, where 13 electoral votes are up for grabs as they are currently suing Democratic Governor Tim Kaine to try to get more voting machines sent to minority polling stations. Fair Elections has been pressing to have paper ballots sent to Virginia polling places where voting machines could break down.
"There's a notion that if the machines all break down, they'll call up and try to get some ballots delivered," Brandon said. Brandon also told FOX News that machines breaking down leads to voters walking away from long lines that aren't moving. The group he leads is also concerned about high turnout and the availability of paper ballots in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
"In general we're looking at the states that have a lot of activity close to the elections: New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida," Brandon said. "Those are the ones that we're particularly focused on. There are other states like Nevada that will be close, but I haven't heard of any potential problems there."
Department of Justice Assisting Third Party Groups
The United States Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is deploying more than 800 monitors, especially in areas that had problems in the past with minority voters, or with providing personnel at polling stations where Spanish or Native American languages are spoken. While the Justice Department would not say what monitors would be looking for in specific areas, it did acknowledge that it anticipates some difficulties.
"We wouldn't be sending people if we didn't have reason to believe there might be problems on Election Day," said Scot Montrey, spokesman for the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice. "To specify anything about our concerns, however, would compromise the monitors' effectiveness."
The United States Department of Justice has received complaints from voters about access, long lines, and being denied the ability to vote because of broken machines or an insufficent supply of ballots.
"We have been receiving complaints from a number of states and jurisdictions," Montrey said. "To the extent that they are simply the result of managerial problems of state and local governments as the Constitution gives states the responsibility to run their own elections, we have offered various forms of assistance. Separately, our official role under the Voting Rights Act comes into play in situations that have a disparate impact, by design or effect, on minority groups [and] the disabled."