High turnout, few problems in Philly, says watchdog

From Inquirer Staff:
4:15 p.m.
The Committee of Seventy, a Philadelphia-based election watchdog group, reported "high turnout" and "a modest number of complaints across the region" this afternoon.
There were some questions about voting procedures for the suddenly hospitalized, problems of names not appearing on registration lists and reports of machine breakdowns in Philadelphia, including both machines at 52nd and Chestnut streets, said Ellen Mattleman Kaplan, vice president and policy director for The Committee of Seventy.
And in Brookhaven, Delaware County, snakes apparently were found at a polling place at Powell and Albert Roads, along with broken lights and a collapsed ceiling, she said.
"We hope the positive results, so far, are a result of the strong signals regarding election day behavior that were sent by Gov. Rendell, Mayor Nutter, District Attorney Lynne Abraham" and others, Kaplan said in an e-mail.
The group also is looking into reports of minority polling officials being ousted by the Democratic Judges of Elections in Philadelphia, Kaplan said.
Some officials also are nervous about running out of emergency paper ballots during the evening crush of voters if machines break down, she said.
Among registration problems, in Philadelphia’s 58th ward, 40th division, the book was missing all last names from "Aa" to "Aj," she said.
On the questions about hospitalized patients, the group advised that a voter who became ill between 5 p.m. last Friday and 8 p.m today can vote by emergency absentee ballot.
The voter must complete an emergency ballot application and have it delivered to the Court of Common Pleas no later than 8 p.m. today.
To get the necessary form, go to www.votespa.com. Voters who are uncertain about what to do should call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).


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