Despite concerns about possible attempts to hack or otherwise tamper with the U.S. election, voting appears to have gone smoothly, with no attacks or intrusions. The Department of Homeland Security said it had no reports of election-related cyber breaches. … “All the discussions this year about security gave states another measure of protection,” said Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for elections accuracy. That work also helped minimize the effects caused by breakdowns of voting machines or crashes of registration databases. In Smith’s experience, the resiliency of the voting system after something goes wrong is what keeps small problems small. For example in Colorado, the state’s electronic voter registration system went down for 29 minutes, from 2:47 p.m. to 3:16 p.m. local time, according to Secretary of State’s spokeswoman Lynn Bartels. Voting continued during the outage, though while the registration system was out, clerks were not be able to process mail-in ballots and in-person voters had to use provisional ballots. Once the system was back up and running normal voting resumed. “It’s very possible that things like what happened in Colorado could have been worse had there not been this emphasis on checking these systems. Instead of it being 29 minutes it could have been much longer,” Verified Voting’s Smith said.
The largest nonpartisan voter hotline is expecting to receive a record number of calls regarding problems at polling stations across the nation. “In Texas we have seen confusion across the board in regards to the ID requirements that are in place for voters. In Florida we have received an uptick in the number of voter intimidation complaints,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said at news conference in Washington, D.C. The Election Protection Hotline, staffed by more than 8,000 volunteers, fielded about 5,500 calls by 9:30 am EST before all the polls were even open. As of 2:30 p.m., Clarke said the center received at least 20,000 calls. The states with the highest call volume were Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York. (Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are swing states.) Calls included voters reporting intimidation, late polling-location openings, and confusion by poll workers as to the identification required for different states.
As one of the most divisive and least predictable campaign seasons in memory came to an end on Tuesday, millions of Americans from all walks of life took part in a time-honored national tradition: They did not vote. Some people were barred from voting by law, and others were effectively blocked by the obstacles put up by new restrictions or stalled by the memories of bad experiences the last time around. For others, child-care and work demands proved too difficult to juggle with going to a polling place. Some decided not to cast a ballot on principle. But there were plenty who just could not be bothered with the whole business. “Part of it is laziness,” said Charlene Petrillo, 47, standing behind a meat counter in Lake Geneva, Wis., and acknowledging that she had been stirred by campaigns before, like President Obama’s, but had never actually gone through with the actual voting part. “I don’t want to stand in line with a hundred thousand people.”
Most Americans assume that by the wee hours of tomorrow, the national media will declare (unofficially, but still decisively) either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump our next president. Of course, the 2000 election showed that the result might not be settled so quickly. Considering how tight the polls have been, one or two battleground states may be too close to call Wednesday morning. That would be good news for Hillary Clinton’s chances. She’ll probably take more of the mail-in and provisional ballots that can’t be counted until the days and weeks after the election. Whatever her vote share tonight, it will probably increase in the weeks to come. Let us explain. For election administrators, 2000 was a wake-up call. Prompted by the controversial Bush v. Gore decision, states created uniform counting standards, which had been contested during the Florida recount. Reforms include safeguards that protect voters whose names were improperly removed (or never added) to registration lists, and procedures to ensure overseas citizens’ and service members’ votes will be handled equitably. But some of those election administration changes make it much more likely that millions of votes won’t be counted until the days and weeks following Election Day.
At several points during this campaign, Barack Obama has urged voters to support Hillary Clinton not because of her long experience, or because of his estimation that Donald Trump is “uniquely unqualified” for the Presidency, but in order to preserve his own legacy. He said this most explicitly at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual dinner, in September, where he implored African-Americans to back the Democratic candidate. “After we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community, I will consider it a personal insult—an insult to my legacy—if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election,” Obama said. “You want to give me a good send-off? Go vote.” Obama’s two Presidential campaigns were defined in part by the black voters they brought to the polls. In both 2008 and 2012, African-American women voted at a higher rate than any other demographic group in the country. In recent months, Obama has been asking those voters to preserve the work of his Administration: Trump has promised to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Iran deal. But, aside from his desire to protect those policies, by appealing to black voters to go to the polls he was also asking them to counter a new effort to suppress the black vote, which grew in strength during his Presidency.
While more than 46 million Americans already have cast their votes this year, 80 million or so more will be voting on Election Day itself. If you’re one of them, there’s a good chance you’ll use one of two basic forms of voting technology to record your choices: optical-scan ballots, in which voters fill in bubbles, complete arrows or make other machine-readable marks on paper ballots; or direct-recording electronic (DRE) devices, such as touch screens, that record votes in computer memory. Nearly half of registered voters (47%) live in jurisdictions that use only optical-scan as their standard voting system, and about 28% live in DRE-only jurisdictions, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Verified Voting Foundation, a nongovernmental organization concerned with the impact of new voting technologies on election integrity. Another 19% of registered voters live in jurisdictions where both optical-scan and DRE systems are in use.
Americans heading to the polls today (Nov. 8) might vote using punch-card ballots, optically scanned paper ballots (which are generally handwritten) or computerized systems that record votes. In a few districts (mostly small and rural), voters might fill out an old-fashioned paper ballot and put it in a box. Those who voted before 2010 might remember the old lever machines. In the U.S., the hodgepodge of voting methods has a long and odd history, one determined by the sometimes conflicting needs of counting votes accurately, preventing election fraud and checking the accuracy of total counts. Because voting procedures are left up to individual states, it gets even more complicated, according to Warren Stewart, communications director at Verified Voting, a nonpartisan group that tracks voting technologies.
Despite Donald Trump’s continued skepticism that the election was on the up-and-up, few voters who went to the polls Tuesday encountered problems — and even then, most of the trouble involved the usual machine breakdowns and long lines. The run-up to the vote was fraught, with unsupported claims by the Republican presidential candidate of a rigged election and fears that hackers might attack voting systems. He reiterated his claims on Election Day, after his campaign announced it was seeking an investigation in the battleground state of Nevada over reports that some early voting locations had allowed people to join lines to vote after polls were scheduled to close. Asked on Fox News if he would accept Tuesday’s results, Trump continued to demur. “We’re going to see how things play out today and hopefully they will play out well and hopefully we won’t have to worry about it,” he said. Later in the interview, he said, “It’s largely a rigged system.”
Long lines, computer glitches and other isolated problems marked Election Day 2016, a far cry from the widespread chaos, cyber-assault, vote-rigging and voter intimidation that had been predicted by both sides for months. At least four counties in the battleground state of Pennsylvania reported malfunctions with their controversial electronic voting machines, giving Donald Trump evidence to level his charge that the presidential election isn’t happening on the up and up. But the problems in Pennsylvania, according to Democrats, some Republicans and many computer scientists who know these aging voting machines best, are not out of the ordinary. What’s more, they insisted no votes have ultimately been miscounted. “Things are moving well, “said Will Estrada, chairman of Virginia’s Loduoun County, which includes the Washington D.C. suburbs. “We’re almost afraid to jinx ourselves candidly because it’s gone smoothly,” added Alex Triantafillou, chairman of Ohio’s Hamilton County, home of Cincinnati. Indeed, even Republican chairmen in three crucial battleground counties told POLITICO that everything was running smoothly through early afternoon – with no significant concerns about fraud, irregularities or vote-rigging.
An American orbiting in outer space can vote, but four million citizens and nationals living on U.S. soil have been left behind. While NASA astronaut Kate Rubins cast her ballot last month from the International Space Station, around 350 kilometres above planet Earth, those living in the five American island territories in Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico will not be able to vote to elect their next president. Territorial residents have some of the highest military enlistment rates, yet many have no say when it comes to deciding their next commander-in-chief.
National: Here Are All the Ways That Technology Could Screw Up Today’s Election | MIT Technology Review
As millions of people head to polling stations to cast their votes, there can be no denying that today will have its fair share of drama—and much of it could be influenced by technology. For one thing, hackers could send polling stations into chaos. They probably won’t mess with your ballot, though—if they do try to skew results, it would be by tampering with voter registration information. So if you turn up to the booths and are unable to cast your vote, there’s a chance that hackers are to blame. Then there’s the issue of Internet voting. In total, 31 states use the Internet to collect votes in some way—and in Alaska, anyone’s allowed to vote through a website. That’s despite the fact that it’s demonstrably a risky practice, open to hacking and manipulation.
Election Day 2016 is finally here, and many thousands of people across the state have already cast their ballots in one of the most divisive presidential contests of our time. The chance for Alabama voters to make their voices heard and finally decide between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and to weigh in on a host of local races and state constitutional amendments is finally here. Proud voters from Gulf Shores to Gadsden are posting photos of their “I Voted” stickers on all manner of social media, and candidates at all levels of government are biting their nails, glued to news reports on their TV screens and Twitter feeds.
Colorado: State to return to presidential primary, but with unaffiliated voters | Colorado Springs Gazette
Big changes may be on the way when it comes to how Colorado picks its political candidates, according to preliminary returns. As of 10 p.m., Proposition 107, which would bring presidential primary elections back to Colorado, replacing the caucus system, was leading 64-36 percent. If the lead holds, the measure would take effect in 2020, allowing about 1 million unaffiliated voters to take part in selecting candidates. Proposition 108 likewise appeared headed for passage, though with a tighter margin. That measure would let unaffiliated electors also participate in non-presidential party primaries, while the parties could in some cases select candidates by committee or convention. Voters cast 1,016,535 votes in support – about 52 percent – versus 926,420 against, according to the late results.
In a sign that the legal team for the Trump campaign is aggressively laying the groundwork for potential legal challenges — big and small — lawyers have gone to state court in Nevada in an early vote dispute. They are suing Joe P. Gloria, the Clark County registrar of voters, over a decision they allege he made to keep polling locations open “two hours beyond the designated closing time.” The lawsuit targets polling places in the greater Las Vegas area that have larger minority voting precincts. Dan Kulin, a spokesperson for the county, told CNN that no early voting stations extended their closing times. They did, however, process voters who were in line at closing time to allow as many people to vote as possible. In legal briefs filed Monday night, Trump lawyers are asking for an order to have the pertinent early vote ballots not to be “co-mingled or interspersed” with other ballots.
Editorials: Donald’s trumped-up Nevada lawsuit is a fitting end to a hateful campaign. | Richard Hasen/Slate
Donald Trump’s campaign filed a complaint on Tuesday alleging that election officials in Nevada broke the law by allowing up to 300 people to vote who were not in line at closing time on Friday at Cardenas market, a Latino-oriented restaurant in Clark County serving as a temporary early polling place. His campaign also made similar charges about a few other locations. Trump was trying to use this complaint to stop ballots cast there from being counted. This seems likely to be a ploy to try to deprive Hillary Clinton of having Nevada declared for her Tuesday night in the event of a close race with her ahead. Judge Gloria Sturman denied the campaign any preliminary relief to sequester ballots or get information on poll workers, but the suit may continue. It will take a while to sort out everything, but my initial impression is that—even if it is true that people were allowed to vote late on the Friday night before Election Day at a handful of locations—Trump’s claim is weak on the law. The suit also misunderstands the point of early voting and the lack of harm done when early voting times are extended.
North Carolina: With broken voting machines, a North Carolina city is doing ‘everything by hand’ | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Technology to check in voters was not working working properly in Durham, North Carolina, this morning, forcing elections officials to handle check-in by hand. This is just one of a handful of areas with machines or technology breaking down, and problems have been reported in Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina, too, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University and the Verified Voting Foundation. At this early point, the problems should not interfere with the ability to get accurate vote counts, authorities said. “We have a high degree of confidence that the ballots will be able to be counted” by the end of the day, Verified Voting president Pamela Smith told cleveland.com during a conference call with reporters and a coalition of voting rights groups.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Democracy North Carolina for emergency action to keep Durham polls open until 9 p.m. A hearing on the lawsuit is expected shortly before Wake County Superior Court Judge Don Stephens. The filing comes after software glitches in Durham have prompted the county Board of Elections to ask the state for permission to extend voting hours by 90 minutes Tuesday evening. Durham County Board of Elections Chair Bill Brian said the county took its electronic voting system offline after problems popped up at several precincts. Poll workers were unable to look up voter registration information digitally, so they turned to paper records. That requires the use of paper forms, and when some precincts ran out of the forms, voting ground to a halt.
Puerto Rico: Could Commonwealth Become A State? Ricardo Rossello Vows To Make History | International Business Times
Puerto Rico’s longtime movement toward statehood saw a significant victory Tuesday night after Puerto Ricans elected Ricardo Rossello of the New Progressive Party in a tightly fought gubernatorial race. Rossello is a vocal supporter of statehood for Puerto Rico and vowed on the campaign trail to turn the debt-ridden Caribbean island into the 51st state. Puerto Ricans are eager for change. More than 200,000 Puerto Ricans have left the island of 3.5 million people in recent years because of an economic crisis that has seen schools shut down and a shortage nurses and doctors. Puerto Rico owes $70 billion in public debt. “I’m honored Puerto Rico gave me an opportunity. … We will establish a quality of life that will allow (Puerto Ricans) to return to the land where they were born,” Rossello, 37, said. He carried nearly 42 percent of the vote, or 566,000 votes, against his main opponent, David Bernier, who had more than 527,000 votes, or 39 percent. Bernier, of the ruling Popular Democratic Party, sought to follow Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who did not seek a second term.
The state Board of Elections has authorized additional voting machines to relieve delays at precincts Tuesday, according to Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea. Each polling place began the day with one scanner machine for voters to feed their ballots into, Gorbea said. But high turnout in some precincts, combined with two-page ballots, caused lines to form, Gorbea said. Sometimes those lines stretched two hours or more, according to reports that The Providence Journal received from voters. The two-page ballots were problematic, Gorbea said, because the machines scan a picture of each ballot and then save encrypted images as a ballot security measure. This is the first general election with the state’s new ballot scanners. The old machines didn’t encrypt scanned ballot images into computer memory, she said. The Board of Elections authorized a second ballot machine for each polling place, as needed, Gorbea said.
Jen McDonald got to her polling location in downtown St. George at 8 a.m. Tuesday, and was informed “there was a glitch” in the voting machines — so she filled out a paper ballot. When Kate Davidson, McDonald’s sister-in-law, went to her polling place on St. George’s south side about 10:30 a.m., the news was worse: “They said, ‘We’re out of ballots and our machines aren’t working.’ ” Davidson, with her 3-year-old and 8-month-old in tow, was given three options: Wait around 20 minutes or longer for the machines to be fixed, go to another polling location where paper ballots were still available, or come back in the afternoon. She chose to come back later.
The number of ballots cast in Bulgaria’s national referendum, held on the same day as the first round of presidential elections on November 6, was just short of the threshold that would have made the outcome binding on Parliament, the Central Electoral Commission data showed on November 8. With all voting precincts protocols processed, the three referendum questions fell less than 13 000 ballots short of the threshold – 3 500 585, or the voter turnout in the previous nationwide elections, namely the parliamentary elections in 2014.