Amid record-breaking numbers in early voting this midterm season, there have been some irregularities reported at polling stations in several states on Election Day.
There have been reported voting problems in Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania and Arizona, among other states, in an election year when several races have been shadowed by concerns over voter suppression and election security.
In calls with reporters today, the Department of Homeland Security said they have seen little to no hacking attempts during Tuesday’s elections, though they noted a few isolated issues with voting systems. Voting machine vendors, working with the Federal Election Commission, said the issues with voting machines reported so far are among those typically seen on Election Day. DHS officials said there appeared to be no malicious activity behind the technological issues.
Here’s a look at some of the reported voting problems that have frustrated voters today.
There have been technological and printer problems in Arizona that contributed to long wait times today, The Arizona Republic reported.
There was a reported 20- to 25-minute “slow down” for the entire Maricopa County computer system earlier this morning, a problem that frustrated voters. Elsewhere in the county, there were also printers that wouldn’t print ballots, while other precincts ran out of ballots, the newspaper reported.
Poll workers couldn’t get into one polling place in Maricopa County this morning because the building had been foreclosed overnight. Voters were redirected to a different polling place in the area.
In Georgia, the two most populated counties in the state — Gwinnett and Fulton Counties — reported long lines and malfunctioning machines at polling stations. In Gwinnett, five precincts experienced issues with their voting machines and had to temporarily use paper ballots. In four precincts, the machines failed to recognize voter identification and print ballots. The fifth polling station was missing power cords, and the voting machines crashed after their batteries died. The glitches and errors involved areas with about 20,000 registered voters. Gwinnett has about 525,000 registered voters overall. Three of the affected precincts are predominantly black or Hispanic, one is predominantly white and one has a balanced number of black and white voters. One precinct in Gwinnett will extend voting hours until 7:25 p.m. ET. Local officials told the PBS NewsHour that all 156 precincts in the county uses these electronic systems, which are made by ExpressPoll, and that all of their voting machines passed inspection prior to election.
In the morning, a polling station in southwest Atlanta — at Pittman Park Recreation Center — witnessed long lines numbering in the hundreds because the site only had three voting machines. A Fulton County spokesperson told the NewsHour that five additional machines were delivered before noon. The precinct in question serves 3,100 voters. Normally, there should be one machine for every 350 registered voters in that precinct. The spokesperson said they expected a large turnout, but in-person voting has already surpassed absentee ballots, with 3.5 hours left to go before polls close. The county, at the moment, has no plans to extend voting hours, but anyone who arrives before the polls close can still cast their ballots.
Poll workers have been telling voters that they must have a photo ID to vote. The problem: A Missouri judge make it clear in a rulling two weeks ago ruled that a voter could present another form of ID, like a bank statement, to cast their ballot, KCUR reported.
Ahead of Tuesday’s elections, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued strong warnings against voter fraud, saying that those who vote illegally will be prosecuted at the highest level. But there’s no proof of widespread voter fraud.
New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, in a statement posted to Facebook, said Trump and Sessions’ claims of voter fraud are “irresponsible and false,” adding that these type of statements are themselves “another disgusting attempt at voter suppression.”
“The President is only trying to degrade confidence in our elections and discourage eligible voters from casting their ballots,” said Toulouse Oliver, an incumbent Democrat up for re-election. She then urged New Mexico voters to vote today and “make their voices hear.”
New York City has reported outages with voting machines at polling stations in every borough, but especially in Brooklyn. Voters in one of the most populous cities in America report waiting in line for hours and some polling stations are using a single machine to process votes. NYC City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has called for Michael Ryan, executive director of the New York City Board of Elections, to resign. Ryan blamed NYC’s long voter lines on high turnout and the rain.
— Electionland (@electionland) November 6, 2018
New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo said her team is visiting PS 22, a polling site in Brooklyn that had reports of broken voting machines. On Twitter, she said later in the day that “all 4 machines are up and running” and that a technician with the state’s Board of Elections would be on site until polls close.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said all of the ballot scanners are down at a polling station in Bay Ridge. “This is a complete disgrace,” Adams tweeted. “We need to know when technicians will be here ASAP. Lawyers are onsite and monitoring this situation. We need serious, serious reform.” Adams also noted he witnessed good conditions at a polling station in Bed-Stuy with “only one scanner outage.”
After reports of voting machine malfunctions, Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt told the NewsHour that the city has “replaced 10 out of nearly 4,000 total voting machines in use at 1,692 precincts in Philadelphia County on Election Day. Votes cast on machines that were replaced are still counted.”
In Davidson County, the home of Nashville, there were reports of long lines and a disabled voting machine at a precinct in a suburban liberal stronghold. Jeff Roberts, Davidson County’s Election Commission administrator, said his team sent a technician to investigate and could not find evidence of a broken machine. He said the long lines were due to extreme voter turnout in Davidson County. By 3 p.m., the largest precincts in the county reported turnout that was 109 percent higher than in the 2016 presidential election. In expectation of high turnout, Roberts said Davidson precincts had been staffed at the maximum. “I am happy that we treated this one like a presidential [election year],” he said.