POLITICS
11/06/2018 11:59 am ET Updated Nov 06, 2018

Voters Report Issues Casting Ballots Across The Country

Long lines, locked buildings and broken machines are among the issues troubling voters.

Election day is here ― and so are the polling place headaches.

From long wait times to voters finding their polling sites closed, people across the country have reported issues while trying to cast their ballots on Tuesday.

Here are some of the issues and how you can report a polling place problem if you experience one.

Broken machines:

Broken machines have been reported at a number of polling sites across the country, leading to reports of long lines as voters switched to paper ballots.

Such issues were reported outside Atlanta, Georgia, in Gwinnett County, where people were seen waiting for several hours to vote.

Touch screen voting machines in Indiana’s Tippecanoe County were reported to be switching votes. One man posted a video of himself repeatedly trying to select the Democratic candidate, but the machine marked his choice as Republican multiple times before he was able to correct the entry.

In New York City, voters also complained of broken machines and scanners at multiple polling sites in Queens and Brooklyn. Some voters said they were instructed to use emergency ballot boxes, which will collect the paper ballots to be counted later.

Tech issues were also reported in Arizona, where people reported waits of over an hour.

In Indiana, a county-wide server outage was reported in Johnson County, south of Indianapolis, preventing people from voting.

Some voters there said they were told to expect an hours-long wait, prompting some to leave.

One county polling inspector, speaking with WTHR, said it was taking 5 to 7 minutes just to get a voter’s name to appear in the electronic system during a search.

Long lines:

Polling locations around the country were forced to stay open late due to delayed openings that caused lengthy lines. A civil rights organization in Texas filed a temporary restraining order forcing Harris County to keep nine polling sites open an extra hour, including eight in Houston.

Locations changed:

Some voters looking to cast their ballots early Tuesday morning instead found their designated polling sites unexpectedly closed or relocated.

Polling centers locked:

In New York City, one Twitter user shared a video of firefighters working to open a locked polling station in Brooklyn. That location ended up opening late because of “a key programming error,” according to the city’s Board of Elections.

In another bizarre event, voters outside Phoenix reported to a polling center in Chandler that had been unexpectedly foreclosed on overnight. The building’s owner locked the doors with the voting equipment inside, AZ Central reported.

A photo posted online showed a letter of notice attached to the front door.

After sending some voters to Chandler City Hall, which also reported voting issues with its printers, the foreclosed location reopened.

Voting machines missing: 

In Detroit, voters were turned away from a designated polling station because it was missing voting machines, WXYZ reported.

That polling place, Martin Luther King Jr. High School, reportedly recovered the lost machines in a locked closet and was working to reopen the site. 

ID issues:

Voters in Missouri were also wrongly hassled for not having valid photo identification. Some voters reported that they were turned away improperly even though they had the correct documents listed by state websites. 

One woman reported that poll workers incorrectly told voters they needed a photo ID to cast ballots and refused to take down erroneous signs when informed that they were spreading misinformation.

Some people have reported issues in Georgia due to the state’s controversial “exact match” voter ID laws. The singer Janelle Monae tweeted late Tuesday that “voter suppression is real” and noted that people in Atlanta were being turned away due to identification documents that didn’t exactly match voter records.

The NAACP filed a lawsuit due to various voting issues at polling places in Georgia, including “mismanagement.” A judge ordered several sites to remain open for additional hours on Tuesday night.

Humidity:

As if polling centers being foreclosed on wasn’t weird enough, one location in North Carolina reported issues casting ballots because of the humidity.

The damp weather reportedly made it difficult for ballots to be fed through machines in Wake County precincts, CNN reported.

The state board assured that all of the ballots will be counted.

Running out of ballots:

A reporter for the Center for Public Integrity said that a poll worker at a voting site in North Dakota for the Standing Rock Sioux Native American tribe had run out of ballots, and a copier to print more was out of toner.

Power outages:

Power outages at some polling places weren’t enough to keep some voters from casting their votes.

In East Tennessee, workers used lanterns to assist voters after a storm knocked out electricity in the Knoxville area. At one polling location, voters moved outside to fill out their paper ballots because of the lack of light inside, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

Journalists harassed:

In Pennsylvania, a reporter for Vice News said she was yelled at as “fake news” and saw one person outside a polling station spit on a local news vehicle.

Voters who experience trouble casting ballots can call 866-OUR-VOTE or text “Our Vote” to 97779 for help. Don’t know your polling center? Find it online here.

This is a developing story and has been updated to include additional reporting.

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