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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.

Did this or something similar happen to you? Let us know in the comments section below.

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.”

Vic Monaco November 07, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Sad tale. Very good story.
Nathan Weyer November 07, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Hrm, I think it just ate my comment. Hopefully this will not be a duplicate. I am kinda curious what was going on with polling yesterday. The person in front of me in line had somehow been removed from the records, even though he had voted in the area before and the rest of his family was still on the list. And myself, even though I have lived here for 12 years and have voted multiple times, seem to have been reset to 'first time voter', requiring an ID to prove I was a resident. Not a big deal (since I have one) but was still kinda odd.
chuck clayton November 07, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I also had some of these same problems for people at my poll.I had to give some provisinal ballets and new voter registrations.one was my neighbor and he is listed on my committee list for door knocking but not at the polls.wow
Kevin Brutschea November 07, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I also saw some voters who were not in the book after telling me they voted in 2008. I had a number of people come into Cornwells Elementary from Andalusia that didn't know which polling place they belonged too. That could possibly be corrected by a Committeeman or woman contacting their voters.
Amanda Mayer November 07, 2012 at 06:38 PM
My husband moved from Lehigh County to Bucks County a year ago. When he did his address change (a year ago) with PennDot he also checked off the box requesting his voting information be changed. When we were married and I changed my name with PennDot I also checked the box requesting my voting information be updated to my new last name. We showed up to our voting station in Springfield Twp (Bucks County) to find my last name was never changed and his name wasn't even on the books. I voted under my maiden name and then we headed up to Slatington Lehigh County (40 minutes away) to his previous voting station only to find out his name was taken off the books there also. We were given the number for the voter registration in Lehigh County to which we immediately called. They searched all the counties in Pennsylvania only to find his name was completely removed from the voters registration system all together. He was not allowed to vote. They told us that a letter is sent to anyone who is about to be removed from the system. We did not get that letter. He has served his country for almost 20 years in the Navy. He could be shipped out tomorrow to defend a country that, not only won't allow him to vote, can't explain why.
Matthew November 07, 2012 at 10:51 PM
America's voting system is now less"free" than Iraq!!!
Sarah Goldstein November 08, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I had the same issue. I voted in the last election and had a voter's registration card from Montgomery County. About 5 months ago, I moved back to Bensalem. When I changed my address there was an option to select if you wanted to have your voter registration changed as well, which I selected. When I showed up to vote I was told that moving has actually "cancelled" my voter registration, but nothing was ever sent to me to notify me of this change. It was very disappointing.
Kevin Brutschea November 19, 2012 at 08:15 PM
http://www.buckscounty.org/government/departments/communityservices/boardofelections/index.aspx <--- Bucks County Board of Elections website. Plenty of links and contacts. You have until 30 days before ANY election to register to vote, or change your address and/or party affiliation.

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