New Voters Fear Registrations Won't Be Processed

With only days until early voting begins, volunteers across the country are working overtime to process a backlog of thousands and thousands of voter registration applications (search).

In the battleground state of Minnesota (search), officials said they have registered 100,000 new voters. Another 100,000 new voters registered in North Carolina, and in Albany County (search) in upstate New York, registration drives produced a 20 percent increase in voter rolls.

"We've been buried for months," Chris Rhodes, the registrar in Pima County, Ariz., told a local television station.

With the crush of applications has come evidence that some new voters are falling through the cracks. FOX News asked viewers experiencing registration problems to e-mail us. The response has been overwhelming.

FOX News received e-mails from all over the nation, including Oregon, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and California. Many viewers said that though they had played by the rules and registered in a timely fashion, they had not yet received their voter registration cards in the mail and feared they would be barred from voting in November.

The greatest number of voting problem reports came from the all-important state of Florida, where election officials have been inundated with an unprecedented volume of registrations.

In Orlando, officials this week were plowing through 22,000 applications, while in Tampa, officials said they still had 12,000 applications left to process. In Broward County — one of the counties that figured prominently in the 2000 recount controversy — officials weren't even certain about the remaining number of unprocessed applications. Officials first estimated the number to be 20,000, but later changed that estimate to 15,000. County officials insisted, however, that they would process all applications in time.

"Because we have increased the work staff as well as the work hour and the number of computers available, I am confident that we will be able to meet our deadline," said Broward County Elections Supervisor Gisela Salas.

But according to the e-mails Florida voters sent to FOX News, voters there do not share the officials' confidence.

"Our entire household has attempted to register in Broward County, two of us as early as March. None of us has received a voter card," wrote viewer Debra Day.

Sonny Blake of Polk County wrote FOX News that though he had registered back in June, he had "received nothing" from the county election board.

In the major population center of Miami Dade, officials claimed to be caught up in processing voter registration applications — a claim that was news to Miami resident Ernesto Torna.

"Here we are almost two months down the road and we're definitely ... getting really, really concerned about getting our voter registration cards," Torna said.

In order to vote on Nov. 2, a voter's name must appear on the registered voters list in his or her county. Failure to receive a registration card in the mail does not necessarily indicate an individual will be barred from voting. Unfortunately, the question of how many will be able to vote when they show up at the polls on Election Day will remain unanswered until then.

Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Brian Wilson.