Local News

Registration Drive Causes Problems In Wayne County

Posted September 24, 2004 4:46 a.m. EDT

— Workers at the Wayne County Board of Elections office are busy adding and updating registration info for hundreds of voters. This week, some unexpected phone calls slowed them down.

Angry people flooded the lines with calls, complaining someone called them asking for personal information.

"In some cases, they were told they weren't going to be eligible to vote in the election because their information was not up to date," said Gary Sims, director of the

Wayne County Board of Elections

. "It was almost continuous. As soon as they would hang up the telephone, they would get another call."

Sims reported it to the

State Board of Elections

. State officials said thousands of voters in at least 30 counties got the same call.

Investigators traced the calls to a telemarketing firm contracted by the NAACP as a part of a voter registration drive. They said old data and a computer glitch led to the problem.

"So far, we've not revealed that it is a scam or there is any fraud," Sims said.

Sims said the whole thing has been frustrating for those working to make elections run smoothly.

"We felt it would have an exact opposite impact. We want to promote elections and get people out to vote. We don't want people frustrated with the process," Sims said.

Officials are working to make sure the correct information gets out now, so it does not create problems at the polls.

Once again, the Board of Elections will contact voters only by mail, not by phone. Election officials say if you have any questions about your registration, you should contact your local county office. The last day to register to vote in the upcoming elections is Oct. 8.