Poll Worker Frustrated with Problems That Keep Voters from Voting
A Bensalem election judge is disappointed because he believes poor communication between PennDOT and election officials is stopping residents from voting.
A Bensalem election judge is disgusted with the lack of communication between the Bucks County election board and PennDOT. According to the poll worker, it’s a problem that’s keeping people from voting.
Fred Cohen is a county election judge for Bensalem’s Lower West voting precinct, which is located at Holy Family University's Woodhaven campus. Cohen told Patch that he dealt with dozens of problems on Election Day for local residents, mostly minorities, that recently moved from Philadelphia to Bensalem.
Cohen, who described himself as an advocate for the voters, explained that in each case the affected voters had valid Pennsylvania driver's licenses with addresses within the precinct, but were not on the local voting rolls.
“The voters did everything right,” Cohen said. “They reported their change of addresses to PennDOT, got new licenses and expected the agency to notify the county.”
Cohen said that PennDOT removed the voters from the Philadelphia rolls, but failed to notify Bucks County or the county failed to register them locally.
This happened about 25-30 times on Election Day in a precinct that tallied just over 800 votes – not an unsubstantial amount.
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Cohen had to send about half of these affected voters away without voting; another handful just walked out frustrated; and a lucky seven were able to fill out an “Affirmation of Elector” form allowing them to vote.
“I don’t know if it’s PennDOT’s fault or the county’s fault,” he said. “I just know that I had to turn people away today who couldn’t vote. That shouldn’t happen.”
In nearly every case, the affected voter was a minority, Cohen said.
Cohen, who’s been an election judge for five years, said he saw some of the same problems during the last presidential election in 2008.
“There were similar issues last time and it always seemed like PennDOT was the problem,” he said. “With everyone confused about the voter ID mess this year, it was even worse.”
About a half hour before the polls closed, Cohen was visibly emotional after he dealt with his final affected voter of the day.
Cohen is so disappointed with the “deplorable” communication between PennDOT and the county that this was likely his last election as a judge.
“I think I’ve had enough,” he said. “I quit.”