Election Day 2004: A Fragmented, Underfunded System Continues to Frustrate Thousands of Voters

“Little trouble, despite heavy traffic at polls,” was a typical headline summing up America’s voting experience at the polls Tuesday.

Common Cause disagrees.

Common Cause monitored Election Day on the ground and by telephone, with the help of nearly 200,000 voters from 50 states who called the 1-866-MYVOTE1 alert line the organization ran with a consortium of groups.

We had more than 1,000 monitors at polling places nationwide, with a concentration in Ohio and New Mexico.

We collected 1,700 voters’ stories through our website, and have an unprecedented amount of non-partisan data on what happened to voters on Election Day.

This much is clear: Voting in 2004 was more problematic than in 2000. Thousands of people waited in lines as long as eight hours to cast a ballot. Many more thousands were turned away at the polls due to registration issues and still thousands more who requested absentee ballots never received them.

“There may not have been fighting in the streets, and an election decided in the courts, as some officials feared,” said Chellie Pingree, president of Common Cause. “But that can’t be our standard for a successful election. Issues like voters being left off registration lists, tens of thousands of absentee ballots never received and lines that snake for blocks are just as large impediments to voting as hanging chads, and they must be addressed.”

The report is attached, or can be viewed by clicking here:http://www.commoncause.org/atf/cf/{FB3C17E2-CDD1-4DF6-92BE-BD4429893665}/VOTING REPORT.PDF