Politics

Voters battle lines, malfunctioning machines, misinformation at some polling sites

Erik Ortiz and Caroline Radnofsky
Voters wait in line to cast their ballots on Election Day near Dryland United Church of Christ in Lower Nazareth, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 3, 2020.
Rachel Wisniewski | Reuters

Long lines dominated polling sites across the country on Election Day, as some voters saw hiccups with election machines and infrastructure Tuesday morning, but no major reports of widespread problems for what is expected to be an historic turnout.

Particular attention is being given to key battleground states, such as Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, where President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are vying for votes in what is largely viewed as one of the most bitterly divisive presidential elections in recent memory and coming amid a backdrop of a raging pandemic that has killed more than 232,000 in the United States.

"Thought we would be smart getting here early," Becca McCormick, 35, said in a video as she waited on a line 100 people deep just before 7 a.m. in Roxborough, a Philadelphia neighborhood. "But turns out so did everyone else."

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In the swing state of North Carolina, several polling places were reporting technical issues when polls opened at 6:30 a.m., including a site in the capital city of Raleigh.

Voters in Franklin County, Ohio, and Spalding County, Georgia, were instructed to use paper ballots after technical glitches with machines. The issues in Spalding County were resolved later in the morning.

While there have been ongoing fears of voter intimidation as well as violence and unrest occurring at polling sites on Election Day, Trump administration officials gave assurances Tuesday that the nation's voting infrastructure remains secure from hacking or other threats.

"We face a multitude of foreign interference threats against our election infrastructure," Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told reporters. "We know that our foreign adversaries, including China, Iran and Russia, would like nothing more than to manipulate our democratic process for their own benefit. But let me be clear: our election infrastructure is resilient and we have no indications that a foreign actor has succeeded in compromising or affecting the actual votes cast in this election."

Election officials talk with a voter at Wakefield High School on Election Day in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., November 3, 2020.
Hannah McKay | Reuters

There were also reports Tuesday morning of misinformation directed as ballots.

In the battleground state of Michigan, Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted Tuesday morning that her office had gotten reports of multiple robocalls going to residents of Flint that they should vote on Wednesday because of long lines. Flint is a majority-Black city.

"Obviously this is FALSE and an effort to suppress the vote," Nessel wrote. "No long lines and today is the last day to vote. Don't believe the lies! Have your voice heard!"

Getting reports of multiple robocalls going to Flint residents that, due to long lines, they should vote tomorrow. Obviously this is FALSE and an effort to suppress the vote. No long lines and today is the last day to vote. Don't believe the lies! Have your voice heard! RT PLS.

Election officials say the integrity of the election and its outcome are especially important with a record nearly 100 million votes cast via early voting or by mail-in ballots.

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