When Prof. Bob Fitrakis visited Ward 55B, in the largely black inner-city district this morning he indicated improvements over the 2004 elections. No significant line-ups, or frustrated voters in evidence at that time.
The Driving Park Polling Station, not too far away, also with a high African American population seemed mostly immune from significant interference. However, one concern raised by Suzanne Patzer, Executive Director for the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism is that voters are being given provisional ballots at times when there are large turn-outs.
Provisional ballots are supposed to be used in the event where the voter’s ID is not sufficient at securing their residence in the district in question. According to Patzer, voters in past elections would fill out the provisional ballots and their ballots would be ignored.
According to one of the officials overseeing the Driving Park polling station, 47 provisional ballots were given out to voters, after less than a thousand had arrived. Patzer claimed this was an unusually high number.
Black Americans tend to favour Democrats.
Later in the day, starting around 5:30pm Columbus time, reports to Fitrakis’s group started to come in indicating voting machine problems. These machines carried tape rolls which would independently track each vote. An election monitor at The Godman Guild Association station on East Sixth street in Columbus, a poor area of town located in the downtown area reported the paper rolls had run out.
There were similar reports all around town, including reports of touchscreens on the machines ‘freezing’ when pressed.
Officials told the monitors they didn’t have enough technicians to oversee the effort to repair the machines.
Contacts in other states are reporting similar problems.
Bob Fitrakis explained to this reporter that a certain amount of simple incompetence cannot be ruled out. But when pressed, he indicated that malfunctioning machines in districts that were majority black would discourage voters waiting in line and play to the advantage of Trump.