By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania’s Voter Protection Coalition is calling for state and federal investigations into the cause of problems at the polls in Philadelphia and across the Commonwealth on Election Day.
The Coalition includes groups such as the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, the ACLU and the NAACP. Representatives say they received complaints that large numbers of registered voters were forced to file provisional ballots after their names were missing from voter rolls, numerous machines were broken or not working properly and poll workers were confused over voter ID.
“We voted in such large numbers that it was disheartening to find out at the end of the day that so many people had so many obstacles in front of their right to vote,” she says. “We’re hoping at the end of the investigation that we not only identify where these horrific problems have occurred, but we are also hoping that it shows us where we need to make change,” Vice Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus Vanessa Brown said.
State Senator Shirley Kitchen says between 500-700 voters in her district had to cast provisional ballots.
“I can’t really say whether all the people who intended to vote, whether their votes have been counted,” says Kitchen. “In one division there were at least 170 provisional ballots. There were over 175 provisional ballots in another provisions. We tried to call downtown to use the system put in place, it did not work.”
Angela Lee of the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group reports that of the 6,800 votes cast by Temple University Students at eight precincts on campus, more than 700 were through provisional ballots.
“Some of them had their voter registration cards in hand,” says Lee. “And when they got to the polls, they were told they were not on the rolls.”
The Department of State says counties should complete the count of provisional ballots and absent ballots through the end of next week.
Representatives from the City Commission could not be immediately reached for comment.