A Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign worker in Pennsylvania thinks I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s going on:
Democratic community organizers would go through presumably sympathetic populations (college students at Pitt and Duquesne, low income areas etc.) and urge everyone to go to the polls even if they had voted absentee already (for students), if they hadn’t registered or if they had already voted. Under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), polling places are supposed to maintain a supply of “provisional” ballots for people who appear to vote but aren’t on the rolls. The concept is that the status of the voter would be checked later and the vote counted if the voter was inappropriately omitted form the rolls. This was put in place after the Florida fiasco.
In Allegheny County, each polling place had ten provisional ballots under the assumption that no more than ten people would show up claiming to be on the rolls but were not. But, with the organizers driving dozens if not hundreds of unregistered individuals to the same polling places, the poll workers quickly ran out of provisional ballots. This event was followed shortly by a Kerry Edwards lawyer miraculously appearing at the polling place and demanding that because there were no more provisional ballots, everyone there had to be put on a machine in order to “preserve the right to vote.” Once that voter went into the booth, there was no way to check their status and their vote would count. I bumped into a college student in an elevator who told me that a Kerry worker told him that in Pittsburgh, you get to vote as many times as you want. Richard Daley would be proud.