Man Takes To Reddit After 'Incompetence' At Polling Place

Mike Krauser
November 06, 2018 - 12:40 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A Chicago man said what should have been a breeze Tuesday morning, ended up being an ordeal that took more than an hour. 

Tom Farmer went to his polling place on Chicago’s Near North Side and said in 38 years of voting he’s never been so frustrated.

The “incompetence was total,” he said, and “amounts to de facto suppression.”

He arrived at his polling place, the 19th precinct of the 42nd Ward, at 5:50 am, “trying to beat the rush.”

“The line formed and formed and they could not start processing people until 6:30 a.m. And after that we had a bunch of poll workers who were completely flummoxed by the technology and did not understand policy or process and it made for a very frustrating experience," Farmer said.

He said it took an hour and 10 minutes for him to get processed.

“The technology was just being investigated in real time as we walked in.  There had clearly been no rehearsals." he said.

Farmer said there were differing opinions about process, as well.  

“We were asked at one point to re-register to vote even though we were all already registered and then there was a fight among the poll workers about what proper policy was,” he said.

People were very frustrated.

“There was some shouting in line, there were people who had to leave for work so they could not vote. There was one Chicago Board of Elections official on hand, very, very frustrated because she couldn’t touch the systems, trying to reach out and get some help, but nobody was answering the phone," he said.

“The expectation is that this is a familiar standard process, but it was being executed at ground level by people who clearly never had touched it before.”

He called his experience “a series of speed bumps and snafus.”

Farmer posted on Reddit: 

Arrived at my polling place at 5:50 a.m. to beat the rush, they were just starting to get organized and unpack stuff, and they did not start trying to check voters in until about 6:30 a.m.

Nothing but elderly poll workers with no tech skills, no experience with electoral process, and poor communications ability.

They started by demanding that already-registered voters register anew, claiming inaccurately that "that's how they want us to do it," then fell to arguing among themselves about how to process people as the line grew to 25+ people.

When they started trying again they immediately crashed or paralyzed all their tech -- they had not rehearsed or anything and were entirely flummoxed by the check-in interfaces, etc. -- and somehow destroyed my wife's voter record in the process so she could only get a provisional ballot.

When I left they were processing voters at a rate of one every 10 or 12 minutes (it should take 15 seconds) and several in line had to depart for work.

Frustration level was very high and there was some shouting. There was one CBOE person there who knew the systems and had the skills to put things right but was forbidden to touch anything under some protocol -- she was trying to get CBOE on her mobile to send help, but nobody answered -- she was practically shaking in frustration.

Took us 1h 10m to get through and we were first and second in line. Absolute travesty and I have pinged CBOE and my alderman. In 38 years of voting I have never been so frustrated at a live polling place. Incompetence was total and amounted to de facto suppression.