Large turnout, some issues at Philly polls

Despite concerns about confusion over the state’s voter ID law, most polling places in Philadelphia reported few problems and excellent voter turnout.

At Drexel University yesterday afternoon, a steady stream of students created lines at one location.

“I felt like the hype was a lot greater than in years past, even in [2008], which was my first time voting,” said senior Maia Livengood, who stood in line for about 10 minutes. “It’s kind of cool.”

Local political consultant Maurice Floyd said he heard reports that the city was headed for record turnout, which he said were not surprising.

“I think that the money that was spent, the issues that are at hand concern a lot of voters, and I think at this particular point they are very much interested in voting this election,” Floyd said.

A few problems were reported, including numerous voters whose names were not in the poll book at their polling place and were forced to cast provisional ballots, according to government watchdog Committee of Seventy. City Commissioners said the reports were overblown.

Also, in the 28th ward in North Philadelphia, both voting machines were down for two hours, causing confusion and frustration. Some voters filled out provisional ballots without signing their names. Poll workers blamed the confusion on poor communication.

“We were on our own,” said Rhonda Harris, a Democratic committeewoman. She said she was hoping to track down the voters who did not sign their ballots, but noted that “if not, these votes don’t count, and that’s really, really sad.”