Tens of millions of Americans who descended on the polls Tuesday faced hours-long lines, sporadic equipment failures and confusion about polling places — but little of the violence or vigilantism that had been feared. Problems cropped up in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and other key battleground states that would decide whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins the presidency. Most involved election administration issues that have plagued the polls for decades, however, rather than incidents of voter fraud or intimidation fueled by Trump’s warning of a “rigged” election. A coalition of more than 100 civil rights and voting rights groups running a national election protection hotline reported that 40% of its calls came from African American and Hispanic communities, a possible indication that minority voters were being targeted. The majority of complaints came from California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, with Florida seeing particularly high levels of voter misinformation. “There is tremendous disruption at the polls today,” said Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “This election may be the most chaotic election … in the last 50 years.”
While violence generally was limited to pushing and shoving at a few polling places, a fatal California shooting near a polling location in Azusa, part of Los Angeles County, left several more people injured, scattered voters and forced a lockdown. Officials diverted voters to other polling places where they could use provisional ballots.The incident did not appear to have any connection to the election, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
While racial and ethnic minorities had felt threatened by Trump’s calls for self-styled poll watchers, few examples of blatant discrimination were reported. In Ohio, the eligibility of some black voters was challenged at the polls, according to voting rights groups. Voters in a heavily Somalian-born community who had conflicting addresses were told to use provisional ballots when none were available; signs posted in black neighborhoods warned that voter fraud is a crime.
And in one of the few glitches with political overtones, a problem with the calibration of electronic voting machines in Lebanon County, Pa., caused about a half dozen machines to display what voters thought were straight Republican tickets as straight Democratic tickets. Poll workers alerted the county elections bureau, and voters were able to change their ballots, said Michael Anderson, director of the Lebanon County Bureau of Elections.
Full Article: Voters in key states endured long lines, equipment failures.