Some At MIT Faced Problems At Voting Locations

Some members of the MIT community encountered problems at voting sites Tuesday, mostly as a result of a Cambridge-wide glitch that left thousands off the official lists of eligible voters.

About 6,400 voters registered in Cambridge were left off voter registration lists due to a staff error, according to Marsha Weinerman, head of the Cambridge Election Commission. Weinerman emphasized that only those who arrived first thing in the morning to vote were impacted.

“As soon as we realized [the error], supplemental lists were passed out,” Weinerman said. “By 10:30 a.m., all polling places had complete lists.”

According to the Cambridge Chronicle, a misplaced CD containing thousands of voter names had not been printed and distributed to polling locations.

During the interim period before supplemental lists were distributed, any impacted voters were able to cast provisional ballots, Weinerman said. Provisional ballots will be verified until Nov. 14. Weinerman added that all provisional ballots were counted Tuesday night.

According to the Boston Herald, there are a total of 64,000 registered voters in Cambridge.

Professor Terry P. Orlando, housemaster of Ashdown, said that his name did not appear in the local registry when he went to vote at the polls in Kresge Auditorium in the morning.

In an e-mail to Ashdown House residents, Orlando said that he was able to vote by presenting a yellow confirmation card sent by the City of Cambridge when he changed his address to the new Ashdown location. “It appears that without [the card], I would not have been able to vote,” Orlando said in the e-mail. “My name was written in on the rolls by hand by a poll worker, and there was much confusion in both entering to vote and then exiting the voting area.”

Orlando told The Tech that people whose names were not found on the lists were also able to vote normally after waiting in line for vote administrators to call the central Cambridge voting registry and verify that their names were listed.

At least one student, Ben A. Bloomberg ’11, was unable to vote officially and filed a provisional ballot instead because his name was not listed in the central Cambridge registry. Bloomberg said that he had registered at a drive sponsored by MIT for Obama in September in Lobby 10.

Catherine Havasi ’03, head of MIT for Obama, said that problems students encountered at polling places had not been linked to the MIT for Obama registration drive.

Another registration drive held in October in the Student Center and was sponsored by The Tech and the Undergraduate Association. Tech Opinion Editor Andrew T. Lukmann G, who was in charge of the drive, said that he had not been contacted about any drive registrants encountering problems when voting.

Havasi said that a combined 500–600 students were registered at the MIT for Obama and UA/Tech drives.

Five other students listed their names on a page Bloomberg created to find MIT students who had encountered problems. Two of these students were contacted by The Tech and said that their problems had been specific to their cases and not part of a larger problem at MIT or Cambridge.