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Posted today: Roanoke votes electronically, relatively lawyer-free

02 November 2004
By Todd Jackson
The Roanoke Times 
Roanokers went to the polls to vote in the 2004 presidential election on new electronic machines Tuesday, and many stood in line for 15 minutes to a half hour to cast their ballots.

About 20 percent of the city's 53,713 registered voters had turned out by 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Voting city-wide appeared to be going relatively smoothly on the machines, which were being used for the first time in Roanoke. There were some problems, though. Several voters left their respective polling places without completing their electronic vote, and those votes had to be canceled.

Also, the city registrar's office fielded several calls about problems with several electronic machines, which included screen glitches and power source difficulties.

A majority of voters interviewed at several precincts Tuesday morning said they liked the new machines. Some voters, however, complained about a lack of privacy with the new system compared to mechanical lever machines which had their own curtains.

Lawyers and other poll watchers representing the Democratic Party were dispatched to a number of Roanoke precincts, too, on Tuesday.

Nationally, a number of political experts are predicting a flood of election-related lawsuits.

Roanoke lawyer Peter Vieth was monitoring the Peters Creek precinct and he'd already advised one man to seek a provisional ballot early Tuesday morning after he was turned away when his name didn't appear on the voter roll.

City Democratic Party Chairman James Brubaker said Tuesday that he asked the state party not to send lawyers to Roanoke.

Brubaker said the city party has no concerns about the way elections are handled in Roanoke.

"We trust you and your staff," he told Registrar Beryl Brooks.

City Republican Chairman Gordon Hancock said local and state GOP officials are also comfortable with the process and chose not to send lawyers into the field in Roanoke.

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