EASTERN PA — Several reports of voting irregularities in Eastern Pennsylvania emerged on Tuesday, the day of the presidential election.
In Easton, signs appeared offering a A constable for Easton’s 10th ward removed one such sign staked into the ground after consulting with an elections attorney on site. The Pennsylvania Commercial Action Network, the same group that posted “Replace ObamaCare” billboards around the state, made the signs.
Many Easton voters also reported poll workers asking for their IDs, even though IDs are not required for this election cycle under the law.
Matthew Keeler, press secretary for the PA Department of State, said that's part of the plan. "Voters are not required to show an ID or to have one, but they are going to be asked if they have one by poll workers."
"We view this as a soft rollout for when Pennsylvania's voter ID law is in full effect next year," Keeler said.
Voters in Newtown encountered two large signs that said “Please Have Your Photo ID Ready." A member of the local Democratic Party said she encountered the signs at 7 a.m. at the entrance to the polling line and that some people were leaving because they did not have an ID. No one at the polling place, including the election judge, claimed responsibility for posting the signs.
Voters Turned Away
Some voters in South Bethlehem were forced to cast provisional ballots, in part, because a judge of elections didn’t follow proper procedures, according to some poll observers.
The judge allegedly passed out provisional ballots rather than place a call to the Northampton County Election Bureau to verify the voter’s registration status, according to Bethlehem City Councilman Michael Recchiuti, an attorney who was working as a poll observer for the Democratic Party.
Some voters walked away, Recchiuti said.
The judge in Bethlehem’s Fifth Ward, Dick Jones, said he didn’t do anything wrong.
“We could call 10 times and all we’d get was a busy signal,” said Jones, pointing to a cell phone on the table where he worked in the auditorium of the St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church. “We’re swamped.”
The presence of two polling stations in one building may have created some of the confusion, according to Joe Welsh of the American Civil Liberties Union of the Lehigh Valley.
Another problem: None of the workers at the Fifth Ward polling station spoke Spanish for a district that has many Spanish-speaking voters.
Challenges for Voters and Poll Watchers
In Philadelphia in overwhelmingly Democratic districts. Democrats denied this, but said the poll watchers main goal wasn’t to monitor potential voter fraud, but to suppress the vote and lower turnout. A judge ordered that the poll watchers be reinstated.
In Phoenixville, a Republican poll watcher challenged the eligibility of a voter who had an “inactive” voter registration status because he hadn’t voted in five years. The man left, later returned to the polling place with his ID and was able to cast his ballot.
Viral Touchscreen Video
There also have been technical issues with voting in Pennsylvania. One voter posted this video on Youtube of a touchscreen machine apparently incorrectly registering his vote for President Barack Obama as a vote for Mitt Romney.
Hurricane Sandy is also causing problems at the polls. In Philadelphia County, commissioners struggled to process 28,000 new registrations that came in after the hurricane caused election offices to shut down for two days.
In Montgomery County, Democratic County Commissioners Josh Shapiro, Leslie Richards, and their Republican colleague Bruce Castor said Tuesday afternoon that Election Day in the county is proceeding smoothly.
Voters Asked About Their Party Affiliation
Voters in Nazareth, Northampton County told Patch they were put off by a woman - possibly an RNC poll watcher - who asked them questions inside a polling place at Gracedale Nursing Home.
Voter Mark Cloeren said, "There was an RNC rep in the voting room asking each voter 'Republican or Democrat?' After a bit of a discussion she said she was asking whether you were registered one way or the other. But it came across more like she wanted to know how you were voting."
Another resident said the woman continued to talk with voters if they told her they were Republican. A third voter told Patch he found the situation odd and uncomfortable.
The woman was not at the polls when a Patch editor went there. The judge of elections at the poll told Patch she didn't hear any politicking in the room and didn't know who appointed the woman.
Any party or political organization is entitled to have watchers at any primary or election.
Have you seen or experienced voting irregularities in the state? Leave a comment below to let us know.