Old machines, long lines plague midterm elections
Computer glitches and long lines popped up around the country Tuesday, making difficult for voters in some states to cast their ballot in the much-anticipated midterm elections.
In metropolitan Atlanta, the average voting wait time was three hours, with reports of lines exceeding 1,000 people. Meanwhile, many voters in New York were unable to cast their ballot because machines were down in nearly every borough of the city.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged city residents to be patient while calling for election reform.
“To everyone waiting in line to vote because of a broken scanner or other problems, your voice matters,” Mr. de Blasio tweeted. “Please stay in line. And let’s once and for all get true Board of Elections reforms like early voting so this never happens again, NYC deserves so much better.”
Some of the difficulties were downright wacky. In Chandler, Arizona, voters found one polling place in a strip mall shuttered Tuesday morning after its owner foreclosed the property the previous day. Election officials in Gwinnett County, Georgia, didn’t supply enough power cords, causing voting machines to shut down, while in suburban New York City, voting machines were delivered to the wrong district.
Most of the hiccups appear to be relatively minor so far and largely linked to outdated machines.
“A number of states are experiencing problems with their voting machines,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “The technology is so old in many cases, so we are seeing breakdowns.”
Ms. Hobert Flynn identified Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Illinois among the states handicapped by the archaic machines.
The Election Protection coalition’s voter protection hotlines received nearly 10,000 complaints across the country by noon. Ms. Hobert Flynn said the number exceeded the complaints lodged during the 2014 midterms, but fell below the 2016 presidential election.
An additional 500 complaints were filed by text, the first year voters could contact the coalition via text.
The Election Protection coalition is comprised of more than 100 groups, including Common Cause.
Gabriella Muoz contributed to this story.