This Just In

Drunken Mob Attacks Election Headquarters

Slate’s rolling state-by-state coverage of the best polling disasters.

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006

Drunken Mob Attacks Election Headquarters: Angry voters tried to storm the Cook County, Ill., election headquarters early Wednesday morning as a slow-going vote count extended well past midnight. According to the county clerk, drunken “hooligans” assaulted individuals carrying electronic voting data into the building, and police officers held off two dozen supporters of the Republican candidate for county board president in the lobby. One person was arrested for damaging an elevator.

Final results in the Montana Senate race were delayed in part because of an electronic voting snafu: Yellowstone County Election Administrator Duane Winslow forgot to zero out the voting machines used to tabulate absentee ballots before they were put to general use for Tuesday’s election, meaning as many as 3,000 votes were double-counted. Can’t get enough of e-voting screw-ups? Read another rundown of voting-machine troubles here.

In northern Idaho, a man is accused of pulling a knife on a co-worker during a political argument and threatening to stab him.

The Virginia Senate race looks too close to call. If the courts order a recount, it will drag on forever.

Major trouble at the polls we overlooked yesterday: Fifty-five Colorado voting sites were disrupted by a “rogue squirrel.”

For a full list of every little problem at the polls, check Election Protection 365 and

Anything else to report? Ping us at … 2:51 p.m.(link)

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006

Gunslingers and Bounties: Reports of busted machines from everywhere make it less-than-news, although a bomb threat that closes a polling place will always make you go hmmmm.

Something interesting: reports of Democrats harassing Republicans in Ohio. In Michigan, the GOP is suing Democratic poll watchers for speaking to voters. And in Colorado, Latino voters are allegedly being summarily informed that, as Latinos, they are ineligible to vote at all. It gets worse. In Arizona, Hispanic voters are allegedly being harassed at gunpoint.

In New Jersey, we’re hearing GOP allegations that the voting machines in at least seven polling places have been rigged to favor the Dems. While is going to make it worth your while to stumble onto fraud or voter suppression: They’re offering a $250,000 bounty for material evidence of fraud. Nice work if you can get it.

We’re hearing confirmation now of the weird Maryland scheme to bus in the homeless to disseminate misleading campaign materials. And readers are pointing us to instances of computer shenanigans that have felled campaign Web sites. Readers also warn us that these incidents are either being staged or exaggerated to con us chumps in the media. Looking at some of the video footage we’re seeing, it’s hard to disagree.

Finally, for now: Add Chelsea Clinton to your list of famous folks who had trouble voting. And add us to the folks poring over the exit polls.

Anything to tell us? Ping us at … 7:10 p.m. (link)

Rage Against the Machine: A left-wing conspiracy theorist smashed a voting machine  in Allentown, Pa., with a paperweight, compromising more than 130 logged votes. Electronic voting machines are malfunctioning  in precincts across the country, driving some stations to use paper ballots. Indiana officials have extended polling hours, after hundreds of incorrectly programmed machines stalled voting in two counties this morning. Computers on the fritz  caused two-hour delays in some Denver precincts. And the volume of calls about voting-machine troubles crashed the telephone system used by the Franklin County, Ohio, government. * How easy is it to break into a Diebold touch-screen voting machine to alter the votes? Watch this video.

Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham is urging her listeners  to flood Democratic voting-rights hot lines with crank calls. The system is already so overwhelmed it drops callers. Listen to the segment here. Send Laura your hate mail here. Related: Yesterday, a conservative Sacramento, Calif., radio station  used the Emergency Broadcast System to disseminate a paid political ad.

An election worker asked Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to show identification  three times when she voted (absentee) last Friday—despite a new state law allowing the use of nonphoto voter ID cards. Related: An  Ohio congressman and the  governor of South Carolina were turned away from the polls this morning because they lacked adequate identification and proof of registration.

No depths are too low: Maryland’s Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s campaign allegedly bused in workers from out of state, including at least one recruited at a homeless shelter, to distribute inaccurate sample ballots in front of polling places today.

What’s the best story you’re hearing? Contact us at … 5:12 p.m. (link)

Aggregated Outrage: If you want to spend the day in a welter of jittery paranoia, you have two good choices: You can get really, really stoned. Or you can log onto one of the many watchdog Web sites tracking the outrages unfolding at polling places nationwide. Claims of vote suppression, fraud, intimidation, machine failure, and telephonic harassment are rolling in fast and furious. Are we headed for a constitutional crisis?

Here at Slate,we thought we’d offer some of the best claims of fraud from around the country. We’ll update you as the reports come in, and we hope to hear from you if you have something to report.

Let’s get the ball rolling with this amazing phone call (courtesy of the American Prospect Online) reported in Virginia, where it’s a now criminal offense for registered Democrats to show up at the wrong polling place.

Republicans in New Jersey are being confronted with voting machines that are primed to vote in advance for the Democratic candidate (courtesy MSNBC).

We are also following the story of the Kentucky poll worker who choked a voter, and the poll worker from Tennessee who’s been arrested for casting votes for dead people.

What’s the best story you’re hearing? Contact us at … 3:30 p.m. (link)

* Correction, Nov. 7, 2006: This article originally and mistakenly stated that calls about voting-machine troubles crashed the Columbus, Ohio, telephone system. The calls crashed the system used by the Franklin County, Ohio, government.Click here to return to the corrected sentence.