With the first polls across the country getting ready to close (or have already closed), voting remained brisk throughout much of the United States today.
Early morning long lines seemed to be the norm in just about all voting jurisdictions. As always, there were scattered reports of problems, but they were not widespread.
Although more and more California voters are choosing to cast their ballots by mail, that doesn’t mean that voters in the Golden State are abandoning polling places altogether. And with those polling places come the typical Election Day problems. In Southern California, there were reports of polling places without voting machines, voters incorrectly listed as having voted by mail and a few overzealous poll workers asking for ID. More than 5,000 voters called the secretary of state’s hotline with questions and complaints.
In the nation’s capital, where long lines stretched for blocks well into the lunch hour at some polling locations, former Mayor and current D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry called for an investigation into why the lines were so long and elections officials seemed ill-prepared.
Voting continued at a brisk pace in the Sunshine state with long lines and a smattering of problems. In Hillsborough County, the elections office was dealing with a power outage that lasted several hours and glitchy phones. And while earlier today an Illinois woman successfully voted on the way to the hospital to deliver a baby, a pregnant woman in Florida was not so lucky. After standing in line in Palm Beach County, the pregnant voter passed out and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. She ended up voting by absentee ballot.
Last-minute voters were waiting in line in Montana for up to three hours to take advantage of the state’s same-day registration policy and cast their ballots. About 300 people had registered and voted in Billings by lunchtime.
Problems with New Jersey’s decision to allow voters to vote by email were piling up throughout the Garden State. Issues were so severe that one elections official told NBC News that the process was a “catastrophe.” County clerks were so overwhelmed with requests for email ballots that the state was forced to extend the email voting deadline to 8p.m. on Friday.
Saying they were concerned about voter disenfranchisement, elections officials in Washington are asking for detailed information about ballots that were being collected by political parties and campaign workers.
And, as Richard Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Califorinia, Irvine quipped in a Tweet, “You know what’s a first world problem? Figuring out if you can Instagram your ballot,” voters in many areas were met with the prospect of not being able to document their ballot on social media.
With the polls open everywhere but on Guam, Americans are lining up across the country to cast their ballot for president as well as numerous federal, state and local candidates and in some cases a multitude of ballot measures.
The story of the day so far continues to be long lines across the country, although obviously less so on the West Coast where many voters vote-by mail.
The polls are now open in Hawaii and elections officials are keeping a close on proceedings on the Big Island where polling places opened more than an hour late during the primary
In Kentucky, the state’s attorney general reported that the election fraud hotline had received about 60 calls by 10:30 this morning. Most of the complaints were about electioneering, but there was one complaint about vote buying/selling in Clay County.
Problems were cropping up at Pennsylvania polling places regarding the state’s voter ID law, which is not in effect today. While some elections officials are asking voters for ID, it is not ultimately required. This is apparently causing confusion for some voters.
In other voter ID news, there were long lines at polling places in Rhode Island that were being blamed on the amount of time it was taking to check voters’ IDS. This is the first presidential election where a photo ID is required in Rhode Island.
Although voters impacted by Sandy were able to cast their ballots anywhere in New York City today, there are reports of long lines at polling sites throughout Gotham. New Jersey voters were also experiencing long lines and confusion about where to vote.
Long lines were reported at polling sites throughout Maryland, but much of the blame is being placed on the number ballot measures facing voters this year.
Confusion reigned in some Alabama polling places because voters were unaware that their precinct had changed because of redistricting.
The Franklin County, Ohio elections board barred about 30 volunteers from True the Vote from the county’s polling places. The board said that the groups’ application to be poll watchers was not properly filed.
And in Illinois, one Cook County woman should get an award for being a dedicated voter. Although her water broke and her contractions were five minutes apart, Galicia Malone stopped by her local polling place to cast her ballot before heading to the hospital to have her baby.
The polls are now open throughout most of the country and much of the news seems to be about relatively smooth voting, but with long lines. Of course that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some issues.
In New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a last-minute order allowing city residents to vote at any polling location and New Jersey, storm weary voters started lining up early to cast their ballots for president. According to published reports, authorities were planning on driving some affected voters to polling places.
Voters in Cook County, Ill. were experiencing problems affiliated with redistricting. Approximately 20 percent of the county’s voters have new polling places this election and many of them are confused about where to vote. Compounding that is an unresponsive city website and an apparently slow state board of elections website as well. A spokesman for the county told the Chicago Tribune that the site was experiencing unprecedented traffic.
About 3 hours east on I-90 from Chicago, early Election Day voters in Hamilton County, Ind. were met with 30 minute delays at some polling places when there was a computer-programming error with some voting machines.
Also in the Midwest, there was a report from St. Louis that about 150 voters were forced to cast provisional ballots after their names failed to appear on the voter rolls.
Voting was stopped moments after it began at one polling place in Rhode Island when poll workers realized that they had received the wrong paper ballots. According to the Providence Journal, about seven voters were issued the wrong ballots, but did not end up casting them. Voters were told to return at a later time or cast a provisional ballot. The correct ballots were in place by 9 a.m.
In Galveston County, Texas, which is using centralized vote centers for the first time in a presidential election, voting was delayed for a bit when it turns out that poll workers had not powered up the voting machines early enough to be ready when the doors opened at 7 a.m. Although nothing had yet been filed, lawyers for the Democratic Party were working on language to keep the polling places open an extra hour.