From closed polling sites to malfunctioning machines, Election Day brought frustration for some voters in contests shadowed by questions about the security and fairness of the electoral system. In Gwinnett County, Ga., four precincts — out of 156 — suffered prolonged technical delays, while some voting machines in South Carolina lacked power or the devices needed to activate them. There was also some confusion in Allegheny County, Pa., which includes Pittsburgh, where at least four polling places were changed in the last two days. Voters who went to a polling place in Chandler, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb, found the doors locked and a legal notice announcing that the building had been closed overnight for failure to pay rent. (Officials later reopened the location.) In Houston, a worker was removed from a polling site and faced an assault charge amid a racially charged dispute with a voter, The Houston Chronicle reported.
Problems with casting ballots are a regular feature of Election Day, and making sense of them could take days and weeks. But the number of calls to voting hotlines maintained by a collection of advocacy groups quickly outpaced those received in the last midterm election of 2014.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonprofit group that oversees 20 election call centers, said that as of 5 p.m. Tuesday it had received 24,000 phone calls, compared with 14,000 at the same time four years ago.
Four states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas — stood out as particularly problematic, said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee.