With Election Day polls set to open in mere hours, those monitoring the voteÂ for fraud and funny business are already on high alert.
Late last month, the state of Florida raised flags after strange lettersÂ started to go out telling voters that their citizenship was being questioned andÂ that voting could expose them to possible jail time.
Then in Ohio, Nevada and other battlegrounds, reports surfaced of votersÂ trying to make their choice for president on touch-screen machines only to seeÂ the machine register a different candidate. Typically, they voted for MittÂ Romney and the machine marked President Obama.
Among the latest allegations is that NAACP workers showed up at a pollingÂ site in Houston “electioneering” for Obama and refused to leave — though theÂ NAACP adamantly denies it.
The incident was detailed by a poll watcher for the group True the Vote. In aÂ written statement, monitor Eve Rockford claimed NAACP representatives arrived atÂ the Houston site Friday afternoon “with probably 50 cases of bottled water” andÂ began handing them out to voters.
“They were talking to them about flying to Ohio to promote Barack Obama. TheyÂ were stirring the crowd,” Rockford said.
Bill Ouren, national elections director with True the Vote, told FoxNews.comÂ this constitutes “electioneering discussion inside the polls,” which is againstÂ Texas law. Electioneering is not allowed within 100 feet of a pollingÂ site.
Rockford said that the NAACP representatives also were moving people to theÂ front of the line, angering others at the polling site. But she said the judgesÂ on site were unable to stop them. “The NAACP basically ran this poll locationÂ and the judges did nothing about it,” she said.
Ouren said the judges did ask the NAACP representatives at one point to turnÂ their NAACP shirts inside-out. They initially refused but eventually complied,Â he said.
But Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas NAACP, challenged virtually everyÂ one of those claims.
“The NAACP folks didn’t do anything at all that was wrong,” he toldÂ FoxNews.com. Bledsoe said the representatives were merely helping move elderlyÂ and disabled residents who were standing outside in the heat to the inside ofÂ the building. “They did not cut them in line,” he said.
Further, Bledsoe said nobody with the state NAACP discussed going to helpÂ Obama — because “they’re going to be here on Election Day. They’re not going toÂ Ohio.”
Sgt. Grady Castleberry with the local sheriff’s department backed up Bledsoe,Â saying he was there and never heard them say anything about either candidate. HeÂ said somebody else on the site not affiliated with the NAACP, though, wasÂ potentially giving inappropriate advice by urging people to vote “straightÂ ticket.” Castleberry said the issue at the polling site was not the NAACP atÂ all, but how elderly and disabled voters were being treated.
Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, though, told FoxNews.com the NAACPÂ representatives “were in there illegally” despite their intentions. He alsoÂ acknowledged that the election judges on site didn’t “really take control.”
There are reports elsewhere of potential voter fraud and otherÂ irregularities.
In Iowa, officials have opened a voter registration and absentee ballotÂ investigation that reports say involves complaints about Democratic campaignÂ workers and allegations of false signatures.
The Republican National Committee claims “it appears to be illegal activityÂ involving Democratic and Obama campaign operatives engaged in absentee ballotÂ canvassing.”
One man says this happened to his 75-year-old mother.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a Republican, is investigating, and aÂ spokesman told Fox News “we take all allegations of voter fraud seriously –Â that is why we have hired a Department of Criminal Investigation investigator toÂ handle all of the allegations of voter fraud in Iowa.
The Iowa Democratic Party has not returned requests for comment.
Meanwhile, in Oregon, there is a ballot-tampering investigation. Reports sayÂ a county clerk may have filled in the names of Republican candidates that votersÂ left blank. And outside Cincinnati, there are concerns that voters registered atÂ a vacant lot could be used for voter-fraud purposes. Eighteen people areÂ registered to vote there, even though the trailer park that was once there wasÂ removed three years ago.
The Ohio Voter Integrity Project is challenging the names to prevent possibleÂ voter fraud.
“It makes me feel angry, that somebody hasn’t done anything about this,” saidÂ Denise Mayer, of the Ohio Voter Integrity Project. “And the more that we bringÂ it to people’s attention, the more they want to talk about disenfranchising theÂ voter, which is ridiculous.”
Ohio elections officials say they will be on the look-out for any possibleÂ fraud or election problems.
“If they see some untoward activity taking place, there’s going to be aÂ polling location coordinator there,” said Jeff Hastings, director of theÂ Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Ohio. “They can advise that person who’sÂ responsible for making sure that doesn’t happen there. Obviously if theyÂ see anything else they can call our board and law enforcement.”
And in Las Vegas, a woman — a registered Republican — has been charged withÂ trying to vote twice.
Perhaps the most memorable incident of voter intimidation — or at least theÂ most controversial — from the 2008 election was the appearance by New BlackÂ Panther Party members at a Philadelphia polling site. One of them was holding aÂ billy club — it resulted in a federal case, though the local leaders faced noÂ serious punishment.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, New Black Panthers leader MalikÂ Zulu Shabazz has said the group will “consider” whether to monitor pollingÂ places again this year. Shabazz said on WABC Radio that the group wants to watchÂ for “intimidation against our people,” but said nobody will have any weapons onÂ them this time.
Source: Fox News