A few machine malfunctions and names missing from lists of registered voters held up the voting process at polls around campus yesterday.
But most polling stations reported a smooth election day, and the long lines some had predicted didn't materialize.
The Penn Care and Rehabilitation Center at 36th and Chestnut streets was the only polling place on or around Penn's campus to report significant glitches. Two machines were broken for part of the morning, causing hundreds of voters to line up outside the station.
The PCRC hosted the polls for two divisions - the third and 11th - in the 27th ward.
When the two polls opened at 7:10 a.m., just one of 27-3's three voting machines was working, said Christine Abbott, elections judge at the polling place.
By 7:45 a.m., hundreds of people were waiting in line to vote at the PCRC, according to poll staffer Kathleen Turner.
The broken machines "caused a big holdup, and caused some people to have to use paper ballots," Abbott said, adding that repairmen took about two hours to come and fix the machines.
About 20 voters had to use a paper ballot because of the breakdown, according to one poll worker. Workers at the 27-3 poll refused to comment further on the situation.
Abbott estimated that "maybe five people" were discouraged from voting by the lines, which she said remained extremely long until about 2 p.m.
Still, by 6 p.m., about half of the 1,391 voters registered to vote in 27-11 had voted, which was "phenomenal turnout for America," Abbott said.
She also said some students had been confused about where to vote because the polls for 27-3 and 27-11 were side-by-side in the same room.
In Steinberg-Dietrich Hall, one voting machine wouldn't turn on in the morning, according to staffer Ann Dixon.
The machine was fixed by 8:30 a.m., and the line included 30 people at its longest, so voters didn't have to wait more than 15 minutes, Dixon said.
But at least 15 students had to fill out provisional ballots because they weren't on the poll's list of registered voters, she added.
Provisional ballots, which aren't counted until seven days after they are cast in Pennsylvania, "make voters feel insecure," according to Eric Tomlinson, Republican majority inspector at the poll in Fairfax Apartments at 42nd and Locust Streets.
Drexel University senior Shelby Reiches showed up to vote at the PCRC yesterday evening, but was not on the list of registered voters, even though he said he had registered at his school address this fall.
He filled out a provisional ballot, but said he thought it would probably get thrown away.
"I've never seen something that gave such pretension of being organized but was in fact so disorganized," said Reiches of the voting process.
In the rest of Philadelphia, some polling places opened late or encountered glitches with voting machines, but most problems "started to work themselves out by 8:30 or 9 a.m.," according Zack Stalberg, chairman of the Philadelphia-based political watchdog group Committee of Seventy.
The Committee sent about 1,000 volunteers into city polls, more than in any previous election, which "probably had something to do with people being well-behaved and these problems getting fixed," Stalberg added.
Staff writers Rachel Baye and Mara Wishingrad contributed to this article.Comments powered by Disqus
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