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NBC5 Viewers Report Voting Problems
November 7, 2006
Below Are Comments From NBC5.com Viewers Who Had Trouble Voting On Tuesday

R. Ogulnik

District 39. The new electronic machines are not properly set up. The voting boots have no lights and it is impossible to read the printout of the results of your voting. The official offered me the flash light. And that is in Wilmette. Total irresponsibility on the part of the Cook County officials. Thanks.

Julia Nemcek

Today my husband went to vote to find out he was not able to . We moved to Mount Prospect a year and a half ago. When we had our driver's our licenses renewed, we both registered to vote in our new precinct. I had no problem voting, however my husband was not on record. As a matter of fact, when the polling judges called downtown he was not registered downtown, even though he was registered and voted when we lived in Arlington Heights. He was upset and disappointed that after 45 minutes he was unable to vote.

Barb Warrington

Only 1 working computer at our precinct. The other one "froze" and needed to be rebooted. Then the paper tape wouldn't advanced, so the precinct worker had to manually advance the tape (so she got to see how I voted :( so much for privacy.

The precinct worker told me one computer only worked for 2 voters and then quit working properly. She told me she didn't want to have to keep advancing the tape after each voter. I was there during a relatively quiet part of the day. I'm glad I wasn't there when there were more than 2 voters. It would be a long wait.

Nellie Painter

I wasn't given a choice as to paper or plastic as your story said. I was handed a paper ballot and told to fill in the circles. Unfortunately, I need glasses for fine reading and since I had not been advised of new ballots and assumed they would be the punchcards we had last spring, I did not bring them. Since the circles were small and not very clear I was unable to fill the circles completely without going out of the circles. I hope my votes aren't thrown out due to sloppy circle filling.

Suzanne Bessette-Smith

I voted at 6 a.m. this morning in Milton Township (DuPage County), Precinct 95.

Although there were numerous poll workers, they seemed disorganized as they opened the polls and neglected to advise that the ballot had to be filled out with a black magic marker. When I went into the voting booth, there was no black magic marker and when I questioned whether I needed a particular pen to complete the ballot, there was more confusion locating an available black marker. None of this stopped me from voting, and took an extra couple of minutes, but it was annoying and someone else might have completed the ballot with any old pen and then their vote may not have been counted.

More annoying to me, however, was that there was no "polling place" sign out at the road (intersection), where you turn into the polling place, but right at that location there were 4 Topinka/Birkett signs. This seems just plain wrong to me.

Valerie Jennings

I was at my polling place at 7:10 this morning. I was the twelveth one there and none of us if we wanted to could use the touch screen because it wasn't operating according to the judge.

David M. Skudlarek

I went this morning at 8:15 to my polling place in Oak Park. The workers their complained about two poll workers who didn’t show up. The precinct was being “run” by a high school student…fairly competently. A voter in front of me in line was given a provisional ballot because his recent registration wasn’t on the voter rolls. I was allowed to vote, but wife was also given a provisional ballot because the voter roles incorrectly indicated she and I had already voted. There is definitely something wrong with Cook County’s voter database information. Other than that, the touch screen voting machine was great. A superior voting experience to previous methods.

Debra L. Harris

I went in at 6:30 a.m. this morning to cast my vote. I thought, I'm computer savvy, I'll try the touch screen. MISTAKE. First, the judges had problems activating the card (that should have been a clue to me). When it was finally activated, it only allowed me to vote in ONE (yes, ONE) race. I brought this to the judges' attention, but they insisted that the machine was correct and that I was wrong and to keep going. There was no way to keep going, I went to "Next" and "Back" several times, but the only race I had was the Federal Congressional race. I kept insisting that something was wrong and they kept insisting that everything was okay. I was told to "Cast Ballot" (thinking this would bring me to the next race) and like an idiot I did. Unfortunately, my ballot was cast with my only voting for ONE (yes, ONE) race. I spoke with Marge, the Repair Supervisor for Thornton Township, and Ruth, at the Cook County Board ! of Election. Ultimately, I was told I was given a "Federal-Only" ballot (which I didn't request) and that there was nothing that could be done about it because the touch screen does not allow for "spoiled" ballots. Even though the judges and the Board of Election recognize that there was a mistake, I could not vote for governor, treasurer, attorney general or any of the other races.

This happened in the 93rd Precinct in Thornton Township at the polling place located at 1102 E. 154th Street, South Holland, Illinois. I've been trying to rectify this since 7:00 a.m. to no avail. This is a terrible, terrible problem and sad commentary on the future of voting.

Louise C. Pudlo

Twp Elk Grove Pct 47

We had to wait because our polling place was only issued 3 pens. The judges were all very courteous. There were a long wait and one lady had to get back to work. I was lucky that I didn't have my two toddler 1 & 2 years old grandsons with me today. I don't think one lolly pop each would have lasted as long as we had to wait.

Elk Grove Village, Il 60007

Robin Briller

I actually called your station early this morning after I went to vote at the precinct at 600 West Washington.

The poll personnel handed me a paper ballot, I then inquired if I could use an electronic ballot (since I had seen the story on your newscast that electronic news ballots were available).

The poll workers said that the electronic ballots were available for people with disabilities. I persisted and asked to use the electronic ballot. The poll workers then proceeded to allow me to use the electronic ballot, but then they couldn't get the electronic ballot to work (so I'm thinking that they really weren't interested in having anyone use the electronic ballot since they didn't know how to run the equipment).

10 minutes later they figured out how to work the system, and I voted electronically.

Obviously the Board of Elections needs to do a better job of training their poll personnel.

Robert Old

A minor problem at precinct 159 in Lake County, IL: the polling placed moved from the gym in the front of Oakland Elementary School to the learning resource center, a.k.a., the library, at the back of the school, requiring a different entrance and parking lot.

The kicker is they are handing out a flyer about the Lake County Health Department designating polling places as the location to go to in order to get medication in an extraordinary event, because people are so familiar with them. I just imagine the front door to the school blocked by a pile of dead and dying citizens begging for bird flu shots.

Best, B.O. Nov. 7, 2006

Bryan Billenstein

My polling place was roughly 30' of 6' wide hallway in a DuPage County elemantary school. The hallway contained 2 - 8' check-in tables, one handicapped and 5 regular polling booths. With the counting machine this barely left room to breathe. With three precincts at this location, maybe they are trying to convince all of us to vote early next time.

Ellen Pendola

A few problems this afternoon.

1) I went to my normal voting facility and found that I was in the wrong place. (Never received any mailing that my voting facility had changed?!?)

Once I arrived at the correct voting facility, I had to circle the parking lot waiting for someone to exit. The parking lot was not large enough for all the voters and this was a High School, therefore street parking and other curb parking was not permitted. Frustrating.

2) I received a paper ballot and pen to vote however, did not receive a privacy cover.. And after voting had to walk directly across the room to the form feeder through many people - who could read my votes if they wanted to… I tried to conceal my form but was afraid I was bending it. Also very frustrating.

Can't understand why this process always has to be so dis-organized… no wonder people just do not vote they can't stand the hassle.


The touch screen machine ate the voter card and broken down. The card was stuck in the entry. I had to do another paper ballot because I confused what I was supposed to draw as far as arrows. I lived in Boston for 15 years and machines worked great there, especially when voting down a party line. Last election, Chicago had 'hole punches' which caused problems too.

Colleen Bennett, Rolling Meadows

I did not encounter any problems at the polls. I intentionally voted via the paper ballot. After having seen the documentary, "Hacking Democracy", I was hesitant to use the touch-screen voting.

The only thing I noticed is that they were running low on pens and that was because voters were walking off with them! Thanks!

Mary Ann Graziano

I had no problems voting at the Beuhler YMCA in Palatine. I chose to vote by paper only because there were only two electronic machines for my district and they were both occupied. If there is anything negative to say I would say they needed more machines and booths and the 'special' pens needed. The entire experience was quick and easy. It took about 15 minutes from start to finish. Oh by the way, I did not expect to have to vote for so many judges. If not for that, I might have shaved 5 min. off the process.

Michael Mumenthal

I have had no problem at the polling place, the electronic machine worked great!

The people that had problems, first must know how to read!


Could I report NO problem, please? I live in Tinley Park. My name was quickly found; I was given the card to initiate the process. A woman came with me to be sure I knew what to do. I used the electronic voting machine and it worked great. I loved it. When you’re finished, you can look over your votes, change them, check ones you overlooked, etc. I have no complaints and I really wish you would report GOOD results as well as bad!!! Please!! Why are news folks forever looking for and reporting problems? I’m going back to the TV and will really be disappointed if I don't hear my report.

Debra Zarnow

At my polling place in Evanston only 2 of the 4 touch screens were working. And they were missing one of the "magic pens" that must be used for the optical scan paperwork, leaving one of the voting kiosks open, but unusable. As I understood it we had a choice of either of the two, but when they only have 2 touch screens working, you don't have much choice if you're in a hurry. The guy behind me wanted to use the touch screen, but was forced to use the optical scan or wait 10 - 15 minutes for the two of us ahead of him to finish voting.

Craig Brewczynski, Norridge, IL

I used the touch screen voting here in Norridge. It was GREAT however the polling people didn't know how to fix the printer (it was jammed). Took a bit for it to be fixed however I was very pleased with the outcome.

I did notice that the older voters were having some problems, mostly since they were afraid of the machines and didn't want to do anything wrong.

I think this form of voting will work and people will get used to it in time.

Elizabeth Melas

I asked to use the electronic ballot and I did not have any trouble at all.

Aakash Rami

I used to work for IBM as a software consultant and it is easy to program the touch screens to behave in any manner.

PROBLEM - I ed Tony Peracia...it automatically choose Todd Stroger.

I had to de and re-.


I can't do anything because I'm just a voter...NBC5 has power to bring this to the attention of those involved.

P.S. I'm democrat...but for Cook County Board President, I voted Peraica...there is a hard push by the democrats to choose stoger...I think they're trying to make it so he does win for sure.


Connie Lothridge

You should investigate electronic voting and the election judges ability to run these machines. I was given an incorrect electronic ballot in DuPage County - Precinct 36. The ballot only contained the federal race. The Precinct made several mistakes - provided an incorrect ballot, when notified that it was incorrect I was instructed to remove the card. Once this was done, the ballot could no longer be spoiled. This ultimately took away my right to vote for any state or local official.

Jackie Sabado

I attempted to try the electronic voting system this morning but came up against a number of snags. The person responsible for validating my voting card could not get the card reader to read the card. After several attempts I finally received a card. After walking over to the machine, following the instructions shown ( card). I attempted to begin voting. At first, my card would not be accepted by the machine but after several attempts I was finally able to pass the first screen. I then ed "English" and "next" when I received a message that either my card was not ed properly or removed too early. I called someone over to assist me. The gentlemen attempted to "" my card when in fact he jammed it in! All-in-all I resorted to the paper ballot. Now I'm not sure if I may be counted as voting more than once?

Rebecca Leevey

A man was passing fliers out to vote for Tony Peraica was in violation of the 100-foot rule. The man was actually inside the polling place with the fliers in his hand. At one point, he was stand within approximately 2-5 feet of voting booths. This took place at Montgomery Place Retirement home at approximately 8:00 AM, which is precinct 37 and 38 in Hyde Park. This is a clear violation of election laws.

Sharon Stone

I was unable to vote (district 12) due to the judges/machines etc "not being ready". I left at 6:35 a.m. after being told it would be a least another 1/2 hour; others also left commenting that they would now not be able to vote (I won't be able to either). Last year, we had to wait until 6:15. This is ridiculous ... no wonder people don't vote anymore.

Jason Eiler

The polling place at 1826 N. Francisco (Chicago IL, 60647) is over an hour late in opening, and will not be open for another hour. This beautiful neighborhood has a very large minority population, coincidence?

The polling "office" will still close on time at 7:00 pm, and I know of at least 3 people that will not be able to vote now. No option was given to vote on a back up system or anything. This is absurd. Here is the voter info:

Pct. 020
Ward 35
Cong. 04
St. Leg. 20
St. Rep. 39
Judicial 06
Cnty Brd 08

Glenn Sharkey

I have been voting since I was 18 and am now 46, and I cannot express how angry the voting process is making me! To begin with, the TV ads are just garbage; it makes you feel that every candidate is a crook and self-serving - why would I want to vote for anyone?! Next, trying to find out who the candidates are, what they stand for, and how they have voted in the past is an extremely difficult process; we need a 1-stop shopping for the candidate’s information. Lastly, are the issues we must vote for at the end of the ballot; I had little idea (knew 1 of 3 decisions) what was going to be asked about and had no information to base my vote on!

Something clearly must be done to clean up the voting process!

Rich Mohr

I was at my polling place at 6am this morning and my precinct wasn't set up to accept my vote. I did wait for about 5 minutes before leaving for work. I was a bit upset that it really didn't seem to be urgent to have the machines set up for the voters.

I'll try again after work where I'm sure I'll encounter a line. Hopefully everything will go smooth.

I'm sure the people staffing the polling places are trained in using the machines but it also wouldn't hurt to instill a bit of customer service skills with the training.

Kathryn Kavanaugh

The Hamlin Park Polling location today has 'no parking signs 9am-3pm'on the streets surrounding the voting location due to city street cleaning. This could prevent voters from casting their ballots, particularly handicapped voters. Is the city interfering in the voting process? Shouldn't these signs be removed? Neighboring streets are marked for cleaning tomorrow wouldn't that be better? Thank you!

Craig Bear

I was unable to vote this morning at Precinct 13 in downtown Elgin, Illinois. I asked for a write-in ballot, but I was told that I could not vote until the printer began working. I have to catch a train to Chicago, and I won't be back until 11pm tonight. In other words, I have been deprived of my privilege and right as an American to participate in the voting process. I feel that this is a travesty. Please help me find a way to vote today.

Victoria Mark

So much for encouraging voter turnout. In the 32nd ward, voting at the fire station at 2200 W. Barry is hampered today by street cleaning signs on one side of the street and no available parking. I watched a meter maid gleefully writing 6 tickets to cars that were voting inside. As I sat and watched and waiting for my husband to vote inside (we took turns so we could watch our car), I watched 15 vehicles slow and then pull completely away when there obviously was no parking. Available parking is taken by the election workers. I called Alderman Theodore Matlock's office and Tina there laughed and said, "Well, the daily work has to go on." Looks like a bit of an oversight to me.

Patricia Jurka

I cannot get through to your Chicago Election web page so I am writing here:

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a member of the 43rd Ward/43rd Precinct in Chicago, Illinois. The voting conditions at the facility today are horrendous. Those providing "instruction" and checking the machines etc. do not know what they are doing. The ONE person who was supposed to "manage" the one computer could not multitask, when someone had asked him a question about the card scanner.

I had to wait 5 minutes there was no line and no one was on the machine at 6:45 a.m. and then someone else handed me a card and said "use this." 10 minutes later. When I had "completed" the ballot and was trying to remove the plastic card, the ONE person who was supposed to have started me on the computer came over upset that someone else had handed me a card to vote (??? so I would have been waiting 15 minutes ... when no one was using the machine.

Other people who were providing support in this facility did not know what they were doing. I can't imagine the pandemonium that will be there later when there ARE lines and this chaos continues, and worsens.

Whoever designed the program and features of the "computerized version" should be fired. The program does not have a feature to eject the plastic card that is ed. The "green button" on the back of the computer that was supposed to cause the card to eject did not work. There also was NOT a clear indication of how to change a vote. If you elected a candidate where only one could be chosen from three, the X appeared next to the one chosen but there was NO instruction on how to cancel that and change the vote.

How do I know that, if these problems persist, my Vote was COUNTED???

Many other people in my workplace expressed similar issues in other polling places eg. the "special pens" were not working for the paper ballot so this person ended up using his OWN PEN ... worrying that his vote would NOT be counted?

It is a sad state of affairs when we spend MILLIONS of dollars on these fiascos in the 21st century. The computer programmers at the place where I work could write a good reliable and CORRECTLY FUNCTIONING program in their SLEEP.

These problems are "inconscienable" !!!!!

John Gort

Used the touch screen voting machine - if this is the new technology, forget it. When I would touch on the candidate of my choice, in several instances the check mark would jump to the other candidate. After finally resolving this I reviewed my choices on the screen ( before seeing a printout ) only to find that six candidate choices had mysteriously changed, so again I went back to correct these "mistakes." Finally, everything looked good so I ran the printout to review my choices only to find that again choices( different ones ) were wrong so I went back and made the changes - imagine my dismay when this happened two more times after that. At last everything was right so I pushed the final button to have my votes cast - or were they??? Sure hope so !

PS - Election judges were very nice but they could not explain why this was happening and yes, my hands were clean.

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