New York polling locations suffer voting malfunctions, massive delays

People across New York City reported massively long lines at their polling places Tuesday, the result of various malfunctioning voting machines. In many locations, only one machine was working, causing hour-long waits, and many were reportedly forced to leave without casting a ballot.

According to ABC7, rainy weather was partially to blame. Voters’ wet hands and clothes reportedly made the ballots damp, causing them to jam the machines. The city also has two-page ballots for the first time, doubling the chances of a malfunction.

At multiple locations, voters reported being asked to deposit their ballots in an Emergency Ballot Box, with the promise that their ballot would be scanned later. Many were concerned their vote would not be tallied.

Polling locations across the country are reporting very high turnout, so even at locations where machines are functioning properly, New Yorkers are facing significant wait times before they can cast their vote.

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson decried the malfunctions Tuesday afternoon, calling on the state legislature to create more opportunities for early voting in the future to prevent similar circumstances from preventing people from being able to vote.

Barbara Underwood, the state’s attorney general, confirmed that the Election Day Hotline had received complaints about the broken scanners. “Do not feel pressured to leave your poll site before you vote,” she urged.

North Carolina experienced similar problems, with election officials are likewise blaming humidity for technical difficulties. The high humidity is reportedly preventing the ballots from being fed through the scanners. Like in New York, voters are submitting their ballots in “emergency bins” that will be tabulated when possible. Officials have already planned to conduct a post-election audit to ensure these ballots were properly counted.

New York and North Carolina were hardly alone in their struggles. Georgia faced a similar combination of long lines and malfunctioning machines Tuesday, forcing voters to chose between waiting as long as four hours or turning away. At one location, election officials blamed overloaded machines and absent workers for the delays.

Across Texas, voters are also facing long lines and malfunctioning machines. One woman reported that because her bar code didn’t scan, her vote wasn’t counted and she was left to file a provisional ballot. In Arlington, Texas, one location ran out of paper ballots, motivating many people to leave without voting.

This article was updated to reflect additional information about similar voting machine issues in North Carolina.

Source: thinkprogress