Maybe voting machines are "cowards," too

Rep. Jean Schmidt tries to vote. An optical scanner won't take her ballot.

Published November 7, 2006 5:16PM (EST)

The TV cameras followed Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt to the polls this morning as she tried to vote for herself in a close reelection race. Optical scanning machines refused to take her ballot.

A local TV station says that two of the three optical scanners at Schmidt's polling place aren't working; poll workers are locking ballots into the machines in the hopes that they'll be scanned later.

Schmidt isn't the only Ohio Republican suffering voting problems today. Her House colleague Steve Chabot tried to vote this morning but was turned away because his identification didn't comply with the state's voter I.D. law. His driver's license listed his business address. Although poll workers said they recognized the congressman, they told him he'd have to return with something showing his home address.

If elected officials in Missouri and South Carolina and Ohio are having trouble with new rules and new technology, we can only wonder how voters are doing in polling places where poll workers aren't expecting any media scrutiny -- and where voters with day jobs might not have the time to make multiple trips to the voting booth.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2006 Elections War Room