As America voted Tuesday, mechanical problems were reported across several states as technology often failed to deliver.
In South Carolina, election officials were blaming the age of voting machines for complaints that arose when voters complained the machine altered their intended choices.
Station WTLX investigated reports that votes were changed, and were told by officials in Richland County that no votes were altered, although some machines had calibration issues.
“Touchscreens can also lose proper calibration,” said State Election Commissioner Chris Whitmire. “However, this is usually a matter of millimeters, so that if you touched near the edge of one candidate it could highlight and check the adjoining candidate.”
In neighboring North Carolina, concerns that machines might not count all the votes led officials to release a statement blaming the humidity, but also assuring voters that all ballots will be counted, the Washington Examiner reported.
— NCSBE (@NCSBE) November 6, 2018
The weather got the better of elections in Alabama as well.
& Just when you think you’ve heard of everything that can go wrong on election day, ballots in Madison County cannot be counted by machine because they are all moist & will have to be hand-counted at the end of the day. Alabama needs to have more than one day of voting. https://t.co/BGI6iqwvCI
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) November 6, 2018
Things were a little more serious in Georgia, where problems with electronic equipment forced some polling places in Gwinnett County to resort to paper ballots. The malfunction led to lines that made some voters wait for hours.
The line to vote at Anderson-Livesy Middle School in Snellvillle off Centerville Highway stretches the length of the school.
“It’s like waiting on line at Six Flags,” one voter said pic.twitter.com/dPivZjYq66
— Amanda Coyne (@AmandaCCoyne) November 6, 2018
“I’m still waiting to vote. Provisional ballots have been offered to those who want them,” said Derrick Oatis as he waited to vote, according to the New York Daily News.
“Roughly 90 percent of the voters in line with me two hours ago have left. Some may return, most will not,” he added.
Georgia’s problems could cause political reverberations because Brian Kemp, who as Georgia’s secretary of state oversees elections, is also in the race for governor against Democrat Stacy Abrams.
Several Houston sites reported delays due to a mixture of technical issues, but elections officials said that once the problems were resolved, early morning snarls were resolved and lines were vastly reduced, the Houston Chronicle reported.
In Arizona’s Maricopa County, the elections system had to react to something beyond the usual issues to technology — on the night before a polling place was to open, it was foreclosed, according to the Arizona Republic. Voters were re-routed to the Chandler City Hall, where they encountered a clog due to malfunctioning equipment.
Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes downplayed the problems as “exactly what we expected.”
“I do know that the vast majority of everything is working very well, but we’re going to have issues throughout the day, which is just par for the course,” Fontes said. “That’s just typical for an operation this size.”
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