Keeping the voters satisfied

By Mark Schapiro
Published November 3, 2004 4:16AM (UTC)
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Polling places in the largely African American districts of eastern Columbus, Ohio, saw record turnouts this afternoon -- yet voters found fewer voting machines than in 2000 or any other presidential election. Four years ago, precincts in the area had four voter machines per precinct. This year, according to Yvonne Robertson, a longtime resident of the district, there were only three. At the Driving Park Recreation Center, the huge turnout and missing machines translated into a three-hour wait for voters; for most of the day, a line switchbacked through the gym, into the corridors and out into the rainy street. Local election observers estimated that polls could close as late as 11 p.m. To keep hungry voters from abandoning their place in line, AFL-CIO members made a run to a local McDonald's and returned to distribute 3,000 hamburgers.

Mark Schapiro

Mark Schapiro is a freelance writer based in New York. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Harper's, Harper's Bazaar and the Utne Reader.

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