Hi, this is Danielle Ivory at the American News Project in DC. Thanks to Justin Gardner for allowing us to post story items here! We’ll start doing this regularly next week.
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Recently, I’ve been covering voting infrastructural issues for the ANP and found myself in Philadelphia. During the 2008 primary, parts of Pennsylvania (particularly areas with high concentrations of poverty and people of color) experienced major delays due to machine failures, and many voters ended up waiting in line for hours or getting disenfranchised. When I spoke to Philly’s Deputy Commissioner, Fred Voigt, I was startled by a strong sense of institutional inertia, an unwillingness to admit that serious problems exist and, what’s more, that these problems could possibly be fixed with better management and funding. Furthermore, he and the commission (headed by Marge Tartaglione) seemed alarmingly unconcerned about long lines leading to disenfranchisement. We aired a story about this on Monday, featuring this disturbing interview. Since then, the NAACP and the Election Reform Network have filed a lawsuit against the state or Pennsylvania, requesting that paper ballots be made available for the voters of PA in case there are machine breakdowns. ANP’s original story was quoted in the complaintâ€”Voigt’s comments were described as an example of a “woefully inadequate” official response to election problems.
We aired a follow-up yesterday, covering the lawsuit and presenting more of our strange interview with Fred Voigt. I asked Voigt how voters could avoid lines, and gave me another surprising answer.
We’ll continue following this case and the state of voting in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. (If you have ideas or tips, please feel free to email us at [email protected])
Click here to view our original story.
Click here to view the Voter Action complaint and plaintiffs’ memorandum.