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Turnout was so heavy Tuesday morning at one packed precinct on Manhattan’s Upper West Side that the line to scan ballots stretched around a junior high school gym.
Poll workers told voters that two of the roughly half-dozen scanners were malfunctioning.
In Brooklyn, voters arriving at two separate polling stations discovered that most scanners had broken down.
Veronica Vela said half of the scanners were broken at one of the polling sites in Crown Heights and waited two hours to vote. By that time, none of the machines were working.
Vela said she was forced to drop her ballot in an “emergency ballot box.”
The U.S. Border Patrol has canceled a “crowd control exercise” in Texas following criticism from civil liberties groups that it could dissuade people from voting.
Border Patrol agent Fidel Baca confirmed Tuesday that the exercise in a Latino neighborhood of El Paso was canceled, but declined to say why.
The Texas Civil Rights Project says the exercise, billed by the Border Patrol as a “mobile field force demonstration,” was to be held within a half-mile of a polling site.
The group is seeking an explanation from federal authorities about the intention of the exercise.
The group says in a statement that President Donald Trump “has drummed up anti-immigrant sentiment” and the exercise is “part and parcel of those efforts.”
Voters in an Atlanta neighborhood arrived at a library that’s been their polling site for years to find a car with two signs on its windshield that said in indelible markers, “NOT A VOTING LOCATION.”
Jessica Olson says she’s lived in the midtown neighborhood near the library polling place where she’s voted for nearly 10 years. Suddenly this year, she was told she isn’t supposed to vote here — she’s to go to a church nearly two miles away.
In this pedestrian neighborhood, many walk to the polls.
Fulton County said in a statement that the change was made in early 2018 because the library will close for renovations.
At the new polling site at the church, 26-year-old Mylandria Ponder says she’s been waiting an hour and 20 minutes, and is now leaving.
Across Georgia, multiple polling stations were reporting long lines, with the wait as long as three hours at some sites
A Florida polling place was put on lockdown for about 40 minutes after a man with a gun was reported in a nearby parking lot.
Palm Bay Police Lt. Steve Bland said passers-by getting into their cars Tuesday saw the man sitting in his vehicle with a gun on his lap. They called 911 and police arrived as the man was driving out of the parking lot.
Bland said the man was in mid-80s and did not make any threats. He says the gun wasn’t loaded.
Bland said the lockdown was a precaution, and the man was taken for a mental health evaluation but he was not arrested.
Supervisor of Elections Lori Scott said voters were not diverted to another site because the incident was resolved quickly.
Voting in a Rhode Island community only accessible by ferry was interrupted briefly after the sole voting machine on the island malfunctioned.
The Rhode Island Board of Elections tweeted at about 9 a.m. Tuesday that the machine on Prudence Island “experienced a technical difficulty.”
A new machine was ferried over and the board said the polling place is operating normally and all ballots have been counted.
Prudence Island in Narragansett Bay is part of the town of Portsmouth and has a population of about 200.
The board also said as of 11 a.m., more than 135,000 residents statewide had voted.
Rhode Islanders are voting in a three-way race for governor, and for congressional seats.
Long lines and malfunctioning machines marred the first hours of voting in some precincts across the country Tuesday. Some of the biggest problems were in Georgia, a state with a hotly contested gubernatorial election, where some voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote.
At a polling place in Snellville, Ga., more than 100 people took turns sitting in children’s chairs and on the floor as they waited in line for hours. Voting machines at the Gwinnett County precinct did not work, so poll workers offered provisional paper ballots while trying to get a replacement machine.
One voter, Ontaria Woods, said about two dozen people who had come to vote left because of the lines.
“We’ve been trying to tell them to wait, but people have children. People are getting hungry. People are tired,” Woods said. Woods said she and others turned down the paper ballots because they “don’t trust it.”
Joe Sorenson, a spokesman for the county’s supervisor of elections, said some precincts “have had issues with express polls,” devices election workers use to check in voters and create access cards for voting machines.
Federal and state officials have been working for nearly two years to shore up the nation’s election infrastructure from cyberattacks by Russians or others seeking to disrupt the voting process.
It turns out that many of the problems are closer to home.
Officials have identified a number of problems during early voting, from machines that changed voter selections to registration forms tossed out because of clerical errors.
Election officials and voting rights groups fear that voter confidence in the results could be undermined if such problems become even more widespread on Election Day, as millions of Americans head to the polls to decide pivotal races for Congress and governor.
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