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Scattered Allegations of Dirty Tricks and Electronic Voting Problems


Tuesday's U.S. elections appeared to run smoothly in most of the country, but Americans in at least six states have encountered problems with new electronic voting equipment and there have been scattered reports of intimidation and dirty tricks.

Local governments in parts of Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois extended polling hours because of early problems. In Indiana, some voters were offered paper ballots when voting machines did not work.

In Colorado, a judge rejected a request from the state's Democratic party to keep the polls open an extra two hours in Denver.

A Hispanic rights group said some Latino voters in Tuscon, Arizona had been intimidated by men in paramilitary gear.

In Virginia, the FBI has launched an investigation into phone calls received by some voters from people who claimed to be election officials but apparently were not. The Democratic and Republican candidates for Senate in Virginia are locked in a close race.

In Maryland, sample ballots suggesting Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich and Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele were Democrats were distributed outside some polling places. The literature was paid for by the Ehrlich and Steele campaigns.

Thousands of Democratic and Republican party lawyers are monitoring polling places nationwide to assure that registered voters are allowed to vote.

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and New York Senator Hillary Clinton, was turned away at a Manhatten polling site. She was offered an affidavit vote.

A new poll suggests that Americans have less confidence that their votes will be counted correctly than citizens of other major Western democracies.

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press reports that some 60 percent of Americans are very confident that their votes will be properly counted. But only 30 percent of African Americans say they are very confident.

The most serious polling irregularities occurred in the 2000 presidential race with paper ballots in Florida.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.