Tuesday was full of frustration for voters in New York, Michigan, Florida, Arizona, and Georgia, among other states, as long lines and voting machine malfunctions put a wrench in the Democratic process on Election Day.
The national hotline for reporting poll problems was already flooded with calls by 5 p.m. EST, reports USA Today, with more than 24,000 calls and 1,700 text messages from voters. They reported a myriad of problems from polling locations being closed to machines that weren’t working to long lines.
“It is a reflection of the great interest in this election cycle and also sadly a reflection of the problems and barriers that most voters have faced this election season,” says Kristen Clarke, president of the National Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. This group leads the Election Protection coalition that’s made up of more than 100 groups that run one election hotline.
A previous report from the Brennan Center for Justice shows that 41 states are using election equipment that is at least a decade old. Many states don’t have the funds to replace this outdated equipment. Old and outdated machines are more prone to breaking down and more at risk for malicious software programs.
People can’t vote in Georgia b/c @BrianKempGA did not provide power cords to the voting machines
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) November 6, 2018
Georgia voters experienced widespread problems, with many people in the state reporting to voting machines that weren’t working by 10:30 a.m. Some voters found that their machines did not have power cords and were running out of battery power. This led to longer lines in many voting spots.
“This is purposeful…They are diluting the black vote and it’s as simple as that,” said one Georgia voter, who stood in line two hours to vote.
Voting hours were extended in several places in Georgia, NBC News reports. Many voters found themselves confronted with long lines, among other issues, when they went to cast ballots.
Indiana had trouble managing the heavy voter turnout it experienced on election day, as computers melted down in one county. Voting stopped in some places as early as 11 am. Voters were turned away and told to return by 6 pm.
Voters in Detroit, Michigan experienced similar problems as they encountered long lines, broken machines, and more aggravation when trying to cast a vote. One voter in Redford Township said his polling location had a single, broken voting machine. Around 100 people stood and waited to cast their ballots as the machine was repaired.
Cincinnati, Ohio voters also encountered technical problems while attempting to cast votes. Some ballots were rejected, and voters saw error messages as they attempted to cast their votes.
It is 7:30pm here in Port St Lucie Florida and the poll watcher at this location who has worked here for SIX years has NEVER seen a line this long, esp. this late! Our voices WILL be heard #FL18 #sayfie pic.twitter.com/x862SanyTx
— Hannah Taz LaBovick (@hannahlabovick) November 7, 2018
Problems were also reported in Texas, where Republican Ted Cruz is facing a tough reelection bid and in Florida, home to one of the most-watched gubernatorial races in the country.