A dozen speakers described a litany of problems encountered by voters at Hampton Roads polling places in last month’s presidential election at a meeting Monday night at City Hall. Some of the difficulties – notably, having to wait in line up to five hours in chilly weather to cast a ballot – amounted to virtual disenfranchisement, several speakers said, and should not be allowed to recur. U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-3rd District, who called the meeting, agreed and said he is supporting legislation designed to streamline the process.
Carol Laibstain was an election official in Norfolk on Nov. 6. She said there weren’t enough poll workers assigned to her precinct to handle the crush of voters. The worst bottleneck occurred at the check-in table, where workers verified voters’ eligibility, she said.
“We never caught up. We never saw the end of that line until 6:45 that night,” she said. “Some people waited a couple of hours. In my opinion, this is voter suppression. Intended or not, that’s the result.”
Other speakers told of voters being turned away from the polls, presumably because they had already cast an absentee ballot, when in fact they had not.