While the majority of Californians cast their ballot without any problems on Election Day, a few unlucky voters hit discouraging snags.
The problems ranged from poll worker mistakes to missing voting machines to ID confusion. Like some who had registered to vote through Rock The Vote, LA-based writer Aaron Waltke, 28, had problems casting a ballot on Tuesday.
Both Waltke and his girlfriend had registered to vote through the Rock The Vote site more than a month ago, but they didn't receive any confirmation by mail. Minutes before California's voter registration deadline on Oct. 22, Waltke decided to chance it and register a second time through the state's site.
While he says he didn't opt for a mail-in ballot, he received one anyway, as well as instructions for how to drop it off at a polling place in Koreatown. Figuring that he could still vote in person if he wanted, Waltke arrived at the station early Tuesday morning to cast his ballot, and was told he couldn't because he was on the "mail-in" list. If he wanted to cast a vote normally, he'd have to go home, retrieve his mail-in ballot, and then return so that poll workers could destroy it. Waltke opted to fill out a provisional ballot because he was already late for work, but he was disheartened that his vote would be counted almost a month after Election Day.
"I suspect we were victims of a buggy online registration system that put us in the wrong box," wrote Waltke in an email to HuffPost LA. "The polling volunteers were extremely helpful... but I can't shake the feeling these issues wouldn't have happened, though, if this weren't the first time California was using untested software. C'est la vie."
Rock The Vote President Heather Smith told the Los Angeles Times that her organization had received numerous calls from voters who found that they still weren't registered, after signing up through their site.
Below are a few more reported voting problems from throughout California:
- A tea party-affiliated voter monitoring group was flagged for their "unpleasant interactions" with voters, reports the LA Times.
- Twitter user Juan Romero found the ballot that was handed to him at a polling place in Palm Springs was already filled out with a presidential pick -- and it wasn't his. "Check your ballot carefully to make sure it is not already marked," Romero tweeted. "One I was handed this morning was PRE-MARKED, but not with my choice!"
- Another Palm Springs voter wanted to choose Barack Obama on an electronic voting machine, but the machine showed he had selected Mitt Romney, reports the Desert Sun. He was given a paper ballot and the machine was shut down.
- A poll worker told HuffPost LA editor Sasha Bronner that she wasn't on the list to vote at her assigned polling place in West Hollywood, and asked her to fill out a provisional ballot instead. It turns out that she was on the list and the poll worker made a mistake.
- A reader emailed LAist with the same problem.
- A polling place in South Los Angeles had poll workers, ballots and voters, but no voting machines. Some voters waited in line for an hour while machines were being delivered before giving up, reports the Los Angeles Times.
- A new U.S. citizen reported to a polling station only to find that she couldn't vote, reports the Los Angeles Times. A formal complaint was filed.
- Two "thug-looking" men were harassing Redwood City voters as they waited in line, asking for official ID. They left when a poll worker called the police, reports Redwood City-Woodside Patch.
To report voter fraud or misconduct, call the California Secretary of State's confidential voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).
Below is The Huffington Post's live-blog of problems that are arising on Election Day. If you voted, The Huffington Post wants to hear how it went. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your stories, issues, photos or videos.