Martin Bashir | November 06, 2012
>>> there's still time to vote if you haven't done so already, but the end of this election is drawing closer and closer by the minute, especially here on the east coast . around the country today tens of millions of americans are casting their votes for everything from president of the united states to their local representatives. let's bring in msnbc contributor joy reid, managing editor of thegrio.com and nbc news justice correspondent pete williams . joy, if i can start with you, you're in florida where voters aren't exactly unfamiliar with election day problems. apparently a number of voters in pinellas county received robocalls this morning saying that the election was being held tomorrow. what are you seeing in the sunshine state ?
>> yeah, welcome to florida , martin. this is sort of par for the course . there's always something crazy going on in florida . these sort of shenanigans take place every election cycle. people will get flyers directing them to the wrong precinct or to the wrong day to vote. say, hey, make sure you get out and vote on wednesday. that happened in pinellas county . that's being investigated. you have had reports of some voting machines going down in broward county . i tried for quite a while to get through to the broward county supervisor of elections but surprise, surprise, their media person just happens to be out today. so they're not --
>> they're expecting the election to be tomorrow, that's why the media person is not there today.
>> they probably got those calls. but for the most part it's been smooth sailing at least here in orlando in the critical i-4 corridor. things seem to be moving along steadily. a good, crisp pace of people going through and a lot of voters. the folks i talked to at both of the polling places , the bigger ones i went to, said it's been a good traffic, steady traffic, no long, long lines because, of course, there are a lot more places to vote than on the early vote days.
>> pete williams , we have just heard an extraordinary decision has been taken in new jersey . counting votes until friday. what's going on, pete?
>> well, this is a result of the state 's decision to try to find a way for people displaced by superstorm sandy to nonetheless vote. what the state said is we're going to allow all those displaced folks to request and send in their ballots by e-mail. so they send the state an e-mail saying i want a ballot. the state e-mails it back. they vote on it and return it to the county. what the state says is that they've simply been overwhelmed with these requests. they can't possibly process them all. so here is what they say. you can request a ballot for the next 20 minutes in new jersey , until 5:00 tonight, but you have until friday at 8:00 at night to get that ballot back. so that means technically speaking the vote in new jersey will go all the way through friday evening. now, the election law experts i have talked to, martin, say they have never heard of anything like this happening. it raises an interesting legal question. federal law says that all the states have to choose their presidential electors the same day, and it says if a state flunks that test, there's a fall back, they can appoint their electors as the legislatures may direct. question, does that mean the new jersey legislature then is going to have to say something about how the electors are chosen? what it may all come down to, martin, is this. congress makes the ultimate decision on whether to count a state 's electoral votes . the experts i talk to say even the republican controlled house with a republican governor in new jersey is not likely to say we're not going to count new jersey 's votes. they're technically in violation even though this was a state brought to its knees by a storm.
>> indeed. remarkable stuff there in new jersey . joy, you were in ohio last week. you are our roving expert. there are reports of malfunctioning ballot scanners in cleveland, dayton, and toledo. but the latest controversy is about ohio's secretary of state john hustad's decision on how to count provisional ballots , as many as 300,000 may have been cast. what's going on with that?
>> yeah. and just to give you a note, i got an update on the cuyahoga county machines. the supervisor of elections who really has the confidence of the voters in that area says that their votes will all be counted even if the machines went down. as far as what john hustad did, he changed the physical ballot that is used -- actually, it's the affirmation you sign on the outside of a professional bvisional ballot . in the law under ohio state law, the part that says what kind of i.d. are you using is supposed to be filled out by the election worker. he's made it so the voter has to do it. if they don't, he said don't count that's ballots. that's already gone to federal court . that could be a big problem.
>> a huge problem. joi reid in florida and pete williams in washington. thank you both.