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A Florida Report: Voters Across Florida at Risk of Being Disenfranchised

November 4, 2008

For immediate release: November 4, 2008

Contact: Gabe Roth, groth@gpgdc.com, 202-799-4883 (o), 312-545-8556 (m)

VOTERS ACROSS FLORIDA AT RISK OF BEING DISENFRANCHISED

Ballots being stored in unsecure locations as a result of broken voting machines and poorly trained poll workers

Election Protection, the nation's largest nonpartisan voting rights coalition, has received reports that dozens of optical scan machines across Florida are malfunctioning. In Florida, voters fill out a paper ballot and then feed their ballots into optical scan machines themselves.

More than 30 voters called into Election Protection's 866-OUR-VOTE hotline with concerns that their precinct's optical scan machine is not working. When this occurs, ballots are supposed to be placed in a “a secure bin" under the voting machine. Because of the volume of ballots, these bins are now filling up. We have received several reports of poll workers collecting ballots in a bag, which is not in accordance with the law. Election Protection is working with local election officials to ensure that all votes that have yet to be counted due to optical scan malfunctions are placed in secure locations.

"Florida election officials have a responsibility to create a secure location for these overflow ballots and to guarrantee that every one of them will be counted, despite machine malfunctions," said Jon Greenbaum, Director of the Voting Rights Project for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "Florida voters must not be punished for administrative election failures."

Election Protection has received reports that the following polling sites have broken optical scan machines:

  • 9812 Harney Rd., Thonotosassa (Hillsborough Co.)
  • 224 N. Harbor Dr., Venice (Sarasota Co.), report #: 34284
  • 5732 Old Cheney Hwy, Orlando (Orange Co.), report #: 33428
  • 1250 Beville Rd., Daytona Beach (Volusia Co.), report #: 32114
  • 1801 Hermitage Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 3report #: 2308
  • Noberto Casas Park, 7900 32nd Ave., Hialeah (Miami-Dade)
  • Smathers Senior Center, 1040 SW 29th Ct., Miami, report #: 33135
  • Real Life Church, 6821 W. Waters Ave, Tampa, (Hillsborough Co.)
  • Discovery Christian Church, 10902 N. Armenia Avenue, Tampa (Hillsborough Co.)
  • Bethel Baptist Church, Valrico (Hillsborough Co.)
  • 1801 Hermitage Plaza, Tallahassee (Leon Co.)
  • Carver Middle School, Palm Beach Gardens, (Palm Beach County), precinct ID: 410
  • Beulah Baptist Institutional Church, Tampa (Hillsborough Co.), precinct ID: 169
  • Faith Family Worship Center, Tampa, (Hillsborough Co.), precinct ID: 525
  • City Hall of Eatonville, 307 E Kennedy Blvd, Eatonville (Orange Co.)
  • 250 N. Idlewood Ave., Bartow (Polk Co.)
  • University Area Community Park, 14015 N. 22nd Street Tampa, (Hillsborough Co.) 33613

Election Protection has received dozens more call from voters in Manatee, Orange, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Lee, Palm Beach Pinellas, Duval, Volusia, Broward and Escambia counties reporting similar problems; as of this moment, we have not been able to confirm their polling locations, as they have withheld personal information.

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Election Protection is the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Through its 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline (1-866-687-8683) and dedicated team of legal experts and trained volunteers, Election Protection helps all American voters, including traditionally disenfranchised groups, gain access to the polls and overcome obstacles to voting, offering live assistance. The coalition has more than 100 partners at the national, state and local level, and is providing live voter protection services now through Election Day for all 50 states.

For more information about Election Protection and the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline, please visit: www.866ourvote.org.