Voters around the country encountered malfunctioning machines, website crashes and delayed polling place openings, but the problems for the most part appeared sporadic rather than systemic and there was no immediate indication that they factored in the outcome of an election. Beyond routine mechanical problems, the midterm elections Tuesday also represented for some states the first major tests of new voter identification laws that opponents say disenfranchise minorities and the poor. In Texas, where the U.S. Supreme Court last month let stand a strict photo ID law, there were reports of “voter confusion about how and whether their votes would be counted,” according to Election Protection, a voter advocacy coalition. The law, which Democrats had said would prevent roughly 650,000 people from casting a ballot, meant voters had to show one of seven approved kinds of photo identification. The law has not previously been used in congressional elections or a high-profile race for governor such as the one Tuesday, won by Republican Greg Abbott.
Georgia officials scrambled to fix a page on the Secretary of State’s website that was supposed to help voters find their polling locations, but instead directed many users to an error message. The problem created “unnecessary confusion,” especially in a state roiled by a legal dispute about voter registration, said Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorofChange.org, a civil rights organization.
Advocates for the New Georgia Project, a voter registration drive targeting minority voters in a state historically led by whites, said 40,000 new registrations were still not on the voting rolls as of Tuesday. Meanwhile, the DeKalb County elections office was crowded with people whose names weren’t on the list of eligible voters even though they’ve been registered for past elections. Some were told they were ineligible because they didn’t update their voter registrations to match their driver’s license.