By midday in Philadelphia, the crowds of voters had grown-and so had the number of complaints of trouble at voting booths.
More than 1,000 calls came in from Pennsylvania to the CNN voter hotline for reporting troubles. Nearly a quarter of those calls came from Philadelphia, and the two problems most voters found at the polls were with registration and mechanical problems.
At some centers, registered voters who expected to enter the voting booth were told they would need to use provisional (emergency) ballots to cast their vote. Mechanical errors also claimed machines and kept voters in lines much longer than expected.
“We’ve waited eight years for change. We can dedicate a couple hours in line to vote,” said Zach Friend, 29, the Philadelphia press secretary for the Obama for America campaign. Friend said that problems have to be expected in an election with this many voters. “We have an enormous turnout across the country for this election, and many of the voters are new voters. These issues are indicative of the issues you’d expect in such a big election.”
Voting frustrations haven’t sapped everyone’s excitement. “It’s hard to catch your breath. You feel like you’re on the pulse of something big,” says Sheryel Martin, M.D., a thirtysomething volunteer for the Obama campaign. Martin, who is director of anesthesiology, City Division, Atlantic City Regional Medical Center, took the day off from work to pitch in at Obama’s campaign headquarters at Fifteenth and Samson streets in Center City, Philadelphia.
Martin contributed financially to the campaign but was inspired by a friend who had said, “I don’t want to wake up on November 5 wondering, Did I do everything I possibly could to make change?” Martin concluded, “I had to be here, in a battleground state, to do my part.”
You may like
Get The Essence Newsletter and Special Offers delivered to your inbox!