Metro

Springfield election monitors cite problems with voting machines, registration verification

EPA/LISA HORNAK

Election monitors in Springfield discovered problems with multiple machines Tuesday, as well as confusion over verifying the eligibility of some voters, a civil rights advocate said.

Whitney Taylor, political director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, which is part of a volunteer coalition of statewide election monitors, said her team began noticing problems with at least nine machines as early as 7 a.m. The problems at times caused delays, she said.

But in a joint statement, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Election Commissioner Gladys Oyola said there was a problem with only one voting machine.

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“We had an issue with a voting machine for a period of time at one of the polls. The issue was resolved (machine fixed),” the statement said. “The voters were allowed to cast ballots throughout the process and our commissioners and election staff were on hand during the process. The ballots that were not able to be read by the machine were hand counted.”

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Taylor also said some voters could only fill out provisional ballots if their names did not appear in the city’s official list of registered voters, even when their eligibility could be verified by searching Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s online database.

Provisional ballots are kept separate from the official tally until election officials can determine voters’ eligibility, a process that can take several days.

Taylor said she had no firm estimate on the number of people who may have left the polls in frustration without voting because of the problems. She said similar issues have arisen in past elections in Springfield.

In response to Taylor’s claim about provisional ballots, city officials said there were “a few calls ... regarding voters and we confirmed eligibility. Voters were either allowed to vote via provisional ballot or were marked off on the voter list and voted a ‘regular’ ballot.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.