long lines

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National: The first step to fixing long lines at the polls? Knowing where they happen. | The Washington Post

Horror stories about people standing in long lines to vote started even before Election Day this year, with reports of massive waits at early-voting locations. But new technology and research could help give officials the information they need to figure out how to make elections run better next time and one day help them respond to problems at polling places as they happen. There’s remarkably little detailed data about how long Americans wait to vote, according to electoral experts. They say that’s a big problem because fixing long lines at the polls is practically impossible without knowing where they actually happen. Previous research has generally shown longer waits in urban areas and for minority voters. But much of that data comes from media reports or surveys, according to John Fortier, the director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Democracy Project. “Even administrators that run large counties often don’t have a handle on what’s going on at all at their polling places,” he said. In fact, many precincts do not have systems to track long lines, let alone prevent them, Fortier and other election watchers said. But that’s starting to change.

Full Article: The first step to fixing long lines at the polls? Knowing where they happen. - The Washington Post.

National: Voters encounter some malfunctioning machines, other headaches on Election Day | The Washington Post

As voters flooded polling places across the country on Election Day, some reported problems such as broken machines, long lines and voter intimidation in states ranging from Texas to Pennsylvania. While voting appeared to proceed without headaches in many locations, election observers said they expect a significant increase in the number of issues reported nationwide compared to earlier presidential elections. In particular, voters in a handful of jurisdictions across the country encountered problems with malfunctioning voting machines, highlighting issues with the aging infrastructure expected to support tens of millions of voters turning out on Election Day. One major with some technological problems was Durham County, N.C., which has more than a quarter-million residents outside Raleigh. Officials there had technical issues with electronic poll books used to check in voters. As a result, state authorities told Durham officials to use paper poll books, rather than electronic ones, eventually leading to some delays. (Durham was already using paper ballots.) Local officials asked the North Carolina State Board of Elections to extend voting hours in some precincts, a request that was echoed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. On Tuesday evening, state officials agreed to extend voting in eight precincts, pushing back the closing of polls by as much as an hour in some Durham locations and by 30 minutes in Columbus County. A group had also filed a lawsuit Tuesday afternoon seeking to keep the Durham polls open until 9 p.m.

Full Article: Voters encounter some malfunctioning machines, other headaches on Election Day - The Washington Post.

National: Voters encounter problems, but not the ones most feared | Pro Publica

For all of the ways the 2016 presidential election was extraordinary – particularly Donald Trump’s repeated assertion that the vote was being “rigged” – the actual balloting on Tuesday was largely without serious incident. “Despite expectations this would be an unusual election, this election largely played out as previous presidential elections,” said David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research. “Sporadic problems here and there, but election officials were remarkably well-prepared, and this resulted in a largely smooth Election Day.” There were problems with voting equipment in counties from New York to California, and scattered reports of voter intimidation. But for the most part, the fears that a bitterly contested race would translate into a chaotic Election Day were unrealized. 

Full Article: Voters encounter problems, but not the ones most feared | Pro Publica.

National: Long lines, machine snags but major voting problems scant | Associated Press

Voters around the country faced long lines, occasional broken machines and some hot tempers Tuesday, but as the polls closed from one coast to the other, there were no signs of the large-scale fraud, intimidation or hacking some had feared. The scattered problems mostly involved the sort of glitches that arise in every election, including discrepancies in the voter rolls, with no indications of any snags big enough to meaningfully alter the vote count. “The biggest surprise is how uneventful things have been with this large a turnout,” said Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Jim Tenuto. “Everyone was expecting more problems than this — and nothing.”

Full Article: Long lines, machine snags _ but major voting problems scant - StarTribune.com.

South Dakota: By state law, voters allowed only 10 minutes to vote on lengthy ballot measures | Rapid City Journal

I could end up in jail on Election Day. Ever since graduating from college as a liberal arts major several decades ago, I’ve always asserted I’m equally ignorant in every academic area. But, after writing a few dozen books and several thousand newspaper and magazine articles, I always thought I could read. That is, until I tried to digest a sample ballot for next month’s general election in South Dakota. It took me nearly 20 minutes, and that was only to decipher the scaled-down version of the numerous and complicated measures on the Nov. 8 ballot. The problem is, according to South Dakota state statute 12-18-15, which carries the ominous heading, “Voting without delay — Maximum time in booth or machine — Re-entry prohibited,” by law I’ll only have 10 minutes to cast my ballot that Tuesday. Forget the contentious presidential election. Discount the congressional races. Disregard who is running for the state Legislature or the PUC. Those are easy decisions.

Full Article: By state law, voters allowed only 10 minutes to vote on lengthy ballot measures | Local | rapidcityjournal.com.

North Carolina: Could North Carolina’s super-sized precincts slow voting? | Associated Press

The popularity of in-person early voting in North Carolina has allowed officials to defer action on several hundred bulging precincts that otherwise would slow Election Day voting to a snail’s pace. Forty-eight percent of the state’s 6.6 million registered voters now live in voting precincts with at least 3,000 voters — an important threshold in a previous state study — compared to 43 percent four years ago, according to an election reform group’s analysis. More than one-quarter of voters are in precincts with at least 4,000 voters, most in urban or high-growth suburban counties. “We now have super-sized precincts in North Carolina,” said Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina.

Full Article: Could North Carolina's super-sized precincts slow voting? - HeraldCourier.com: News.

Arizona: The Wrong Lessons From a Voting Fiasco | Governing

For the 2016 presidential primary season, it was the classic and inevitable television “election moment”: As the clock ticked past midnight, thousands of Maricopa County, Ariz., voters were still standing in line to cast ballots in Arizona’s presidential primary. Longtime County Recorder Helen Purcell soon became the logical “film-at-11” culprit, especially after she’d initially suggested, not implausibly, that nearly 20,000 non-party-affiliated voters who couldn’t legally cast ballots in Arizona’s closed presidential primary had clogged the lines by showing up anyway on March 22. However, long lines hadn’t bedeviled Arizona’s other counties on primary day, and a likelier explanation soon emerged. With more than 1.2 million registered Democrats and Republicans, Maricopa County officials, aiming to save taxpayers’ money, had opened only 60 polling places. This compared to 200 in the 2012 presidential primary , and it was far fewer than other counties with far smaller populations. “We certainly made bad decisions … and didn’t anticipate there would be that many people going to the polling places,” Purcell later told the Arizona Republic. “We were obviously wrong — that’s my fault.”

Full Article: The Wrong Lessons From a Voting Fiasco.

Arizona: Voting rights advocates condemn March voting process | Cronkite News

Voting rights advocates Wednesday said the March presidential preference election amounted to voter suppression and proposed renewing federal election standards to protect voters. Community leaders representing numerous advocacy groups, along with Democratic Congressional representatives, said at a forum at the Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church in south Phoenix that the long wait times at Maricopa County election sites prevented many people from voting. “Let’s just make clear what happened. There was voter suppression,” Congressman Ruben Gallego said. Maricopa County had only 60 polling places, including one serving all of south Phoenix for the March 22 election, said Gallego, a Democrat who represents the area.

Full Article: Voting rights advocates condemn March voting process.

National: Primary Voting Problems Have Advocates Concerned About November Elections | TIME

Problems with mail-in ballots in California. Overcrowded polling places in Arizona. Missing names on the voter rolls in New York. Those are just some of the problems that Democratic and Republican primary voters faced over the last few months, leaving voting rights advocates concerned about the November elections, where turnout will be dramatically higher. “We are at a crossroads in our democracy. This is a moment that really requires that states and elected officials to explore ways to make voting easier,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. There’s no single fix to the problems, since each state runs elections in its own way. But advocates have found issues with malfunctioning voting machines, too few polling places and election workers misunderstanding state laws.

Full Article: Primary Voting Problems Have Advocates Concerned About November Elections | TIME.

National: Amid Long Voting Lines And Claims Of A ‘Rigged System,’ Does My Vote Matter? | NPR

This year’s primaries have been filled with complaints about the voting process. Voters in Arizona were furious that they had to wait up to five hours to cast ballots. Thousands of New Yorkers had their names mistakenly dropped from voter registration rolls. Republican candidate Donald Trump called his party’s nominating system “rigged.” Bernie Sanders said the Democrats’ nominating system was “dumb.” And many state voting laws, like strict new photo ID requirements, faced court challenges by those who said they would block minorities and other voters from participating in the election. Supporters defended the laws as necessary to prevent fraud at the polls. All this controversy has left many voters uneasy, and raised questions about how confident Americans are that their votes count, and will be counted accurately in November. So far at least, voters do seem to have faith that the system works. Most say they’re confident — at least somewhat — that their votes will be counted correctly.

Full Article: Bernie Sanders And Donald Trump Say The Voting System Is Rigged, Is It? : NPR.

Arizona: Hours-long lines, goofs with ballot materials. Why can’t Arizona hold elections? | Los Angeles Times

When the Supreme Court threw out major elements of the Voting Rights Act three years ago, Maricopa County in Arizona moved quickly to lower the cost of holding elections. Among its first moves was to reduce the number of polling centers from 200 to 60. With fewer locations, the state allowed voters to choose any polling station in the county. The hope was to make voting more convenient and encourage more people to cast their ballots by mail. It hasn’t turned out that way. The result: stories of having to wait five hours to vote in the March primary election for president, a call to impeach Arizona’s secretary of state, three lawsuits and a Justice Department inquiry. “I don’t know what the right word is to express it,” Arizona Atty. Gen. Mark Brnovich said at a news conference Thursday, speaking of his anger at the situation “as an Arizonan and as attorney general.”

Full Article: Hours-long lines, goofs with ballot materials. Why can't Arizona hold elections? - LA Times.

Dominican Republic: Dominican presidential vote marred by difficulties | Reuters

Long lines, technical difficulties and walkouts by polling staff marred presidential elections in the Dominican Republic yesterday, a race that incumbent leader Danilo Medina is expected to win. After some polling centres opened up to two hours late, authorities in the popular Caribbean tourist destination, which is beset by widespread poverty, prolonged voting by an hour. “Given that in the morning hours there were delay problems, we are giving voters an additional hour to vote,” the head of the electoral commission, Roberto Rosario, said. The delays were due to glitches with electronic equipment and a mass resignation of some 3,000 technical assistants, Rosario said, without giving details on why the workers quit.

Full Article: Dominican presidential vote marred by difficulties | World | Malay Mail Online.

Indiana: Software woes mean long waits for some Indiana | Associated Press

An election official in Hancock County said software problems that created long waits at some polling places led some people to leave without ever voting in Tuesday’s primary. Hancock County’s Clerk of the Courts, Marcia Moore, said the software vendor for the county just east of Indianapolis “really let us down” Tuesday morning with computer glitches. Moore said as long lines formed at some of the largely rural county’s 12 voting centers some people left “because they were frustrated that the line was slow.” No voters were turned away from polling places, but Moore said some left because they worried about being late for work. She said one of the software problems affected computer servers, while another caused some election ballots to exclude county commissioner’s races.

Full Article: Software woes mean long waits for some Indiana | 2016-05-03 | Indianapolis Business Journal | IBJ.com.

Arizona: Judge dismisses challenge to Arizona presidential primary | Associated Press

A judge on Tuesday threw out a challenge to the results of Arizona’s problematic presidential primary despite evidence that there were glitches in the election. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Gass ruled that a Tucson man challenging the results hadn’t proven fraud and hadn’t shown long lines in Maricopa County or registration problems statewide with the election would have changed the results. “I’m going to find that as a matter of law…plaintiff just hasn’t met their burden,” Gass said. “To prove fraud, it’s clear and convincing evidence. It’s an incredibly high burden. And it’s a burden that’s very difficult to prove.” The ruling came at the close of two days of testimony. Gass noted that while there were problems with the election, throwing out the results would mean that more than 1 million people who voted in the March 22 primary would be disenfranchised. “I can’t find that one, there were illegal votes and two…I can’t find it would have made a difference in the outcome of the election,” he said. “The election would have been the same.”

Full Article: Judge dismisses challenge to Arizona presidential primary.

Rhode Island: Common Cause calls for ‘immediate improvements’ to voting in Rhode Island | Providence Journal

Common Cause Rhode Island is calling for immediate improvements to voting in Rhode Island following a primary election in which, according to the advocacy group, “too many eligible voters showed up at the wrong polling place, or waited an unnecessary amount of time to cast their ballot.” “For the vast majority of voters, yesterday went fine,” said John Marion, the executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, on Wednesday afternoon. “But we’re trying to achieve a process where we don’t see any problems and that’s what we are striving for.” On Tuesday, there were problems at some of the polling locations.

Full Article: Common Cause calls for 'immediate improvements' to voting in Rhode Island - News - providencejournal.com - Providence, RI.

Arizona: Judge tosses lawsuit challenging presidential primary results | Arizona Republic

After two days of testimony, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed to invalidate the March Arizona presidential preference election. The suit was filed against Secretary of State Michele Reagan and every Arizona county by attorney Michael Kielsky on behalf of a Tucson man named John Brakey, who says his occupation is “election integrity activist.” In their pleadings, they alleged that voter-registration requests were mishandled and the number of polling places in Maricopa County was improperly cut. Hearings Monday and Tuesday were to determine if there was legal cause to go forward with trial. The state and the counties countered that the complaint was neither timely nor adequately prepared. And they questioned whether election law applied to presidential preference elections. Judge David Gass took the matter under advisement but allowed the evidentiary hearing to go forward.

Full Article: Judge tosses lawsuit challenging Arizona presidential primary results.

Arizona: Voters testify in Arizona presidential primary challenge | Associated Press

Voters dismayed with Arizona’s problematic presidential primary voiced frustrations with long lines and registration issues Monday during a hearing for a court challenge to have the election results thrown out. Testimony came in the wake of the March 22 election where Arizona’s most populous county drastically cut polling places. The move emboldened Tucson resident John Brakey, elections integrity activist to sue Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan and all 15 counties. In a courtroom packed with elections officials and onlookers, voters described waiting in long lines and arguing with elections about problems with their party affiliation. “The judge is going to have to extrapolate and see how that is a representative example of the variety of similar things that happened to people,” said Michael Kielsky, Brakey’s attorney.

Full Article: Voters testify in Arizona presidential primary challenge.

Arizona: Officials: Long lines at Arizona primary affected minorities and non-minorities equally | Associated Press

Election officials in Arizona’s largest county on Friday told the U.S. Justice Department that minority and non-minority voters were equally affected by problems during the state’s presidential primary election. Recorder Helen Purcell said in a 12-page letter to the department that wealthy, predominantly white parts of the Phoenix area saw the same long polling place lines as poor and minority parts of the county. The statement came in response to a Justice Department inquiry about problems during the March 22 election as it tries to determine if voting-rights laws were broken. Purcell again apologized for the long lines, as she has repeatedly since Election Day. “I sincerely apologize to all of the voters who had to wait in long lines,” Purcell wrote. “The burdens of long waiting times were county-wide and did not disproportionately burden areas with substantial racial or language minority populations.”

Full Article: Officials: Long lines at Arizona primary affected minorities and non-minorities equally | Fox News Latino.

Arizona: Judge to hear challenge to Arizona presidential primary | Associated Press

A Maricopa County judge is set to hold a hearing on a lawsuit seeking to have the results of Arizona’s presidential primary thrown out. The hearing set for Tuesday before Judge David Gass comes as the Arizona attorney general’s office want the case dismissed. It argues state law doesn’t allow the March 22 election results to be contested. The attorney general, representing Secretary of State Michele Reagan, said in a court filing that there were problems with the election and Reagan wants to see them fixed, but state law doesn’t allow the legal challenge to proceed. “The contest statutes only apply to specific categories of elections, and the presidential preference election does not fall within the scope” of those laws, the filing by Assistant Attorney General James Driscoll-MacEachron said.

Full Article: Judge to hear challenge to Arizona presidential primary :: WRAL.com.

Editorials: Why Americans Can’t Vote | The New York Times

The state of the nation’s underfunded, patchwork election system and obsolete balloting machinery may not arouse voters the way candidates can with charges of rigged elections. But voters in Arizona who lined up for the state’s presidential primaries last month learned just how difficult and unfair voting can be even without criminal malfeasance. Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, had slashed the number of polling places to 60, from 200 in 2012, claiming a need for budget savings and leaving thousands of voters waiting long hours into the night, with some giving up in despair. The Justice Department is investigating this electoral disaster, including charges that minority voters were particularly harmed. Critics blame the Supreme Court for weakening the Voting Rights Act, which used to subject regions with a history of discrimination, Maricopa County among them, to prescreening by the Justice Department before they could make major changes in voting procedures. Had that provision remained operational, the Maricopa fiasco might have been averted.

Full Article: Why Americans Can’t Vote - The New York Times.