Early prob­lems greet some U.S. vot­ers

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Christina A. Cas­sidy

WASH­ING­TON — De­spite Don­ald Trump’s con­tin­ued skep­ti­cism that the elec­tion was on the upand-up, few vot­ers who went to the polls Tues­day en­coun­tered prob­lems — and even then, most of the trou­ble in­volved the usual ma­chine break­downs and long lines.

The runup to the vote was fraught with un­sup­ported claims by the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of a rigged elec­tion and fears that hack­ers might at­tack vot­ing sys­tems. He re­it­er­ated his claims on Elec­tion Day, af­ter his cam­paign an­nounced it was seek­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the bat­tle­ground state of Ne­vada over re­ports that some early vot­ing lo­ca­tions had al­lowed peo­ple to join lines to vote af­ter polls were sched­uled to close.

Asked on Fox News if he would ac­cept Tues­day’s re­sults, Trump con­tin­ued to de­mur.

“We’re go­ing to see how things play out to­day and hope­fully they will play out well and hope­fully we won’t have to worry about it,” he said. Later in the in­ter­view, he said, “It’s largely a rigged sys­tem.”

Con­cerns of voter in­tim­i­da­tion and fraud led to a flurry of law­suits in the runup to Elec­tion Day, and new voter reg­u­la­tions in more than a dozen states also held the po­ten­tial to sow con­fu­sion at polling places.

But at least in the early go­ing, most of the prob­lems were rou­tine — the kinds of snags that come ev­ery four years, like lines, ma­chines not work­ing prop­erly, and trou­ble with bal­lots or voter rolls. One New Jersey voter re­ported wait­ing three hours be­cause there were too few vot­ing ma­chines at her polling place in Jersey City.

In Texas, a com­puter mal­func­tioned at a polling place in­side a high school in sub­ur­ban Hous­ton, forc­ing of­fi­cials to briefly send vot­ers to an­other polling place more than two miles away. Fort Bend County Elec­tions Ad­min­is­tra­tor John Old­ham said the mal­func­tion­ing con­sole was later re­placed with a backup and vot­ing re­sumed.

An­drea Pa­tience, 50, a phar­macy tech­ni­cian, was among those stand­ing in line when the com­puter mal­func­tioned. She said she waited an hour for it to be fixed. Pa­tience said as many as 100 peo­ple were in line at the time, and about half of them left.

“There were a lot of up­set peo­ple,” Pa­tience said. “I don’t know if they will come back later or de­cide not to vote.”

Elec­tion of­fi­cials in Utah said vot­ing ma­chine prob­lems in the southern part of the state forced poll work­ers early in the day to use paper bal­lots. A com­puter prob­lem i n Durham County, N.C. — a Demo­cratic strong­hold in a state that has been a key bat­tle­ground in the pres­i­den­tial race — trig­gered long lines when elec­tion of­fi­cials had to rely on a paper check-in process.

There were also spo­radic re­ports of peo­ple in North Carolina who said they were not put on the voter rolls de­spite reg­is­ter­ing through the Di­vi­sion of Motor Ve­hi­cles.

JOHN SLEEZER/KANSAS CITY STAR

The line snakes past the park­ing lot Tues­day at Berean Bap­tist Church in Spring­field, Mo.

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