Voting 2004: Report from the Voters

A First Look At Data From Election Day

In November, Common Cause and others undertook the most extensive effort ever to collect non-partisan data, information and observations about voters’ experiences at the polls on Election Day. The result is concrete evidence that our voting systems remain plagued with problems and are in dire need of reform.

Common Cause and several other organizations teamed up run a voter alert line – 866-MYVOTE1 — that took in nearly 210,000 calls from voters in 50 states. Many callers reported voting problems they experienced or witnessed, and others called to get connected to their local elections officials, or use a unique poll locator. Common Cause also had more than 1,000 monitors at polling places nationwide, with a concentration in Ohio, Colorado, and New Mexico. We also collected 1,700 voters’ stories through our website.

This report highlights the most frequent complaints we heard, such as registration issues, problems with absentee ballots and long lines, and then looks at the reforms needed to make our voting systems more secure, reliable and accessible. The report also includes data from a second voter assistance line – 866-OURVOTE1 — run by the Election Protection Coalition, a non-partisan collaboration involving more than 100 national, state, and local public interest groups. That line connected voters with thousands of lawyers across the country helping voters with problems on Election Day.

The presidential election did not go smoothly, despite the fact that a president was chosen without court intervention, and without the chaos that many observers feared. Thousands of voters, however, waited in line for hours to cast ballots, and requested tens of thousands of absentee ballots that never arrived. Others lacked the most basic information about how to register to vote. These and other problems are just as serious as the hanging chads of the 2000 election, and must be addressed.

Common Cause will be working with other advocacy organizations to correct the problems we found in our voting system in the 2004 election. In Congress, in state legislatures and in local election offices, our members and activists will be working to ensure that the next election will make our democracy proud.

The report can be found on Common Cause’s website,{FB3C17E2-CDD1-4DF6-92BE-BD4429893665}/REPORT_TO_NATION2.PDF