Millions of Americans turned out to vote in Tuesday’s razor-thin presidential election, facing long lines, strict new identification requirements and, in some areas, polling stations without power. Voters in key states such as Florida and Virginia waited in long lines hours after polls closed Tuesday night to cast ballots, even as politicians and their supporters urged them not to give up despite the long delays. Candidates turned to social media to encourage voters through the long wait. “#StayInLine #StayInLine #StayInLine” Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin tweeted. The three states allow voters who were in line when polls closed to cast ballots. One Florida elections office mistakenly told voters in robocalls that the election was today.
The Election Protection coalition of civil rights and voting access groups said they had gotten more than 80,000 complaints and questions on a toll-free voter protection hotline.
Many of the problems were tied to new state voting restrictions and fallout from the storm that devastated parts of the Northeast last week.
Elsewhere, the Election Protection coalition reported problems with ballot scanners in the Ohio cities of Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo; late-opening polling places in minority neighborhoods in Galveston, Texas; and some precincts in the Tampa area where voters were redirected to another polling place where they must cast a provisional ballot.
Voters reported Pennsylvania poll workers who improperly turned people away if they couldn’t produce a photo ID. In one Pennsylvania precinct, a voter posted a YouTube video of a malfunctioning voting machine that put a check next to Mitt Romney’s name when he tried to cast a ballot for President Barack Obama.
“The calls have been hot and heavy all day long,” said Barbara Arnwine, president of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which monitors voting problems.