Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reporting Problems on Election Day

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 2:02 PM

There are widespread concerns throughout the nation about potential problems at polling places this November, especially in states that have enacted or attempted to enact voter ID laws. There are also fears of voter-intimidation tactics, in which some people show up to the polls and attempt to dissuade voters from casting their ballots or try to influence their votes. Unfortunately, there also instances of malfunctioning voting equipment or just plain incompetence, in which volunteer election workers don’t know what they’re doing. Well, if you experience any or all of these types of problems on November 6, there’s a website you can go to post your concerns and complaints and rate your polling experience: MyFairElection.com.

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Created by a Harvard University professor, MyFairElection.com also is designed to provide both voters and election officials with a glimpse of what voting looks like at the nation’s 150,000-plus precincts on Election Day. On November 6, MyFairElection.com will produce an interactive, online map, displaying the results of voter experiences. “We hope to provide a very good map of the conditions of voting in the United States,” said the site’s creator, Archon Fung, the Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The idea for MyFairElection.com, Fung said, came from the 2000 Presidential Election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. There were numerous reports during that election about voting irregularities and intimidation tactics. “We realize that an entire election can hinge” on these types of issues, Fung said.

If enough people use the site and rate their polling places on November 6, MyFairElection.com not only will help voters and election officials identify problem precincts, but also will show which ones are doing a good job. The map will be color-coded for each precinct: red for a one-star rating up to green for a five-star rating.

MyFairElection.com also provides basic info, such as the location of your individual voting place (just type in your address). And if you sign-up on the site before Election Day, MyFairElection.com will email you a reminder to vote on November 6.

Update: Alameda County Voter Registrar Dave MacDonald also said today that voters who experience problems at their polling places on Tuesday can call the registrar's office. Phone numbers will be provided at each polling place in the county, he said.

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