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Past trouble spots could flare again, election analyst says

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Florida, Ohio and New Mexico could be trouble spots again, analyst says
  • Of the more than 10,000 calls to CNN hotline, about 1,400 are from Florida
  • Voters complaining of not receiving registration cards, absentee ballots
  • Problems voting? Call the CNN Voter Hotline at 1-877-462-6608
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(CNN) -- Registration and absentee ballot issues topped last-minute concerns among voters in the days before Tuesday's presidential election, with one analyst predicting previous flashpoints may cause headaches again this year.

Of the more than 10,000 problems reported to CNN's Voter Hotline so far, the most complaints -- about 1,400 -- come from Florida.

In nearly 8 percent of those complaints, callers said they had not received their voter registration cards, and about 15 percent said they had yet to receive the absentee ballots they requested.

Similar patterns were seen among callers nationwide.

Paul Gronke, a political scientist at Oregon's Reed College, said Florida, Ohio and New Mexico -- which also had a long count in 2004 -- are likely to be "trouble spots" again.

Colorado and New Jersey, which Gronke said loosened early voting rules this year, could see more problems this year.

"You've generally got to be a little concerned about counting in states with last-minute absentee voting," Gronke said.

He said Republicans and Democrats have been asking him questions about standards for absentee balloting, "which strikes me as an early-warning indicator."

From Cleveland, Ohio, Karen Terrance told CNN that she had not received her registration card despite calls to her local election board.

"I was born and raised here," Terrance said. "I don't understand why I'm not getting any communication. So I hope next year and years after, I won't have that problem."

Long lines at early voting stations were another top concern among Floridians, with more than 10 percent reporting lines that were too long. Video Watch who's being affected by long lines and voter problems »

More than 4.4 million Floridians have already cast ballots in the election, according to the state Division of Elections -- about 40 percent of the 11 million voters on the rolls.

Florida was the scene of a bruising recount that settled the 2000 election, and it is a closely watched battleground state in this year's race between Democratic candidate Barack Obama and Republican nominee John McCain. Both parties are already in court, battling over potential voter challenges Tuesday.

CNN Voter Hot Line

If you have a problem voting or see a problem, call the CNN Voter Hot Line at 877-GOCNN08 (877-462-6608); CNN will report on some of your calls, and our partner InfoVoter Technologies can help get you in touch with your election board or find your voting location.

A lawsuit that Democrats filed to stop Florida Republicans from using foreclosure lists and mailing lists to challenge potential voters was suspended Monday at the start of a hearing. Democrats told judges that the GOP has agreed not to use those lists. In court papers, the state and national Republican parties dismissed the complaint as a "nonexistent threat."

Peter Davey, the Tallahassee judge assigned to hear the case, agreed to suspend the hearing but said he would go ahead with it if problems arose.

In Virginia, McCain's campaign asked a federal judge Monday to order state election officials to count late-arriving absentee ballots from U.S. troops overseas. The suit requests that ballots mailed by Tuesday and arriving as late as November 14 be tallied in Virginia, where McCain has trailed Obama in recent polls.

Meanwhile, a judge denied a request by the NAACP to order the state to reallocate voting machines and extend poll hours Tuesday. Attorneys for the group said they would decide Monday night whether to appeal the ruling.

Virginia state police said they will not bring charges against a man who printed up a bogus flier that instructed Obama supporters to go to the polls Wednesday instead of Tuesday. Nancy Rodriguez, secretary of the State Board of Elections, called the flier "a joke that got out of control."

In Indiana, where early voting ended at noon Monday, Purdue University student Iqbal Siddique said he was told he listed his address incorrectly when he filled out his registration form.

"I called my voting election center in Tippecanoe, and they said I can't vote or I have to do a provisional ballot because my address was wrong," said Siddique, a first-time voter.


Early voting has drawn long lines around the country. In Ohio, another battleground state, voters lined up well in advance of Monday's 8 a.m. opening time in heavily Democratic Columbus, and Sunday's lines took up to seven hours to navigate.

CNN will be tracking voter problems through Election Day. CNN's partner, InfoVoter Technologies, has also transferred more than 16,000 callers to their local election officials so they can get answers to their problems.

CNN's Mary Snow and Sean Callebs contributed to this report.

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