Virginia NAACP Sues Governor Tim Kaine over Election Day Worries

October 29, 2008 at 6:05 am Leave a comment

The Virginia NAACP sued Gov. Tim Kaine yesterday, arguing that the state has failed to prepare for an unprecedented voter turnout in next week’s presidential election.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond, alleges that
with record increases in voter registration, the state has failed to
provide enough polling places.

It asks the court to:

•Get more voting machines and distribute them in a way that cuts
projected waiting times at crowded precincts to 45 minutes or less;

•Reallocate the existing inventory of voting machines and instruct poll
workers to give voters who face a wait of more than 45 minutes the
option of voting by paper ballot;

•Extend poll closing time from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. statewide, giving voters two additional hours to get to their precincts.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
contended in a 27-page lawsuit that the failure to provide more voting
machines, particularly in majority black precincts, violates the state
and U.S. constitutions and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Virginians are going to turn out in large numbers and election
officials must act quickly to make sure their failure to prepare
doesn’t become a barrier to voting,” King Salim Khalfani, executive
director of the Virginia NAACP, said in a news release.

Besides Kaine, a Democrat and close political and personal ally of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama,
defendants include the State Board of Elections and its executive
secretary, Nancy Rodrigues, and registrars and election officials in
three of the state’s largest cities – Richmond, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

It could not be determined after court hours yesterday when a hearing would be held.

The Board of Elections said in a statement that all jurisdictions
have the legally required number of voting machines or voting booths,
and that many far exceed the mandate. Virginia has 10,600 voting
machines, up 86 percent from 2004, the board said.

The board also said an additional 300 polling places have been
established, the number of people assigned as election officers or
alternates has been increased by 50 percent and the number of
jurisdictions using electronic poll books that provide faster voter
check-in has increased from five to 17.

No Democrat has won Virginia in a presidential race since 1964; new polls show Obama pulling ahead.

Source: Baltimore Sun


Entry filed under: African-American, National. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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