Unions warn about phony emails and other voting problems

PHILADELPHIA — Union activists at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and the state’s Service Employees International Union say that African American voters here are the targets of emails warning them not to vote the “straight Democratic” ticket because it supposedly would not include President Obama.

Also, in a piece he wrote for the AFL-CIO Now Blog, Mike Hall reports that a Pennsylvania voter was told he would not be allowed to vote unless he removed a shirt with President Obama’s name on it.

The erroneous email was apparently circulated in South Carolina, too, according to people at the voter protection center the AFL-CIO is running at its national headquarters in Washington.

SEIU staff members in Erie County, Pa. reported today that a poll worker in Mill Creek was telling voters not to vote a straight ticket if they wanted their vote for Obama to count.

The email voters received tells them to select “Barack Obama” first and then the “all Democrats” option.

In a message to local TV stations the local NAACP said that the main concern raised by the email was that voters confused by the instructions may touch their presidential selection a second time, which would actually remove their vote for that office.

At 12 noon ET, the AFL-CIO also reported:

In Ohio there are numerous reports of problems with voting machines. In particular, optical scans were not working on machines in Cleveland, Toledo, and Dayton.

In Cuyahoga County there are reports of possible voter purges. People previously registered in that county are not on the rolls.

Voters showing up in Fulton County, Georgia, found this morning that their names had already been signed as having voted.

In Galveston, Texas, machines were not booted on time, resulting in polling places opening hours late in largely African-American precincts.

There were also reports of lack of sufficient numbers of poll workers and broken down machines in Wisconsin.

Photo: Arlene Holt-Baker speaks during a news conference. Alex Brandon/AP




John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.