The Sift Here’s what we’re Sifting today

Foreclosures, high humidity, and other voting irregularities

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich & Lynde Langdon
Posted 11/07/18, 12:14 am

UPDATE: Acts of nature stymied some voters Tuesday along with long lines and malfunctioning voting machines. High humidity in North Carolina prevented ballots from being fed into the tabulators in some precincts, according to local officials, who said the ballots were stored in emergency bins and would be counted as soon as possible. Damp weather caused malfunctions in scanners already struggling to handle two-page ballots in New York. Severe storms in Tennessee knocked down power lines, forcing voters to use paper ballots instead of electronic machines.

One polling station in Arizona failed to open at all because the building it was located in was foreclosed. The station opened four hours late after relocating. In Prince George’s County, Md., a few precincts ran out of ballots while voters stood in line for up to three hours. Voters could cast their ballots if they were in line by 8 p.m.

Technical difficulties and long lines plagued Georgia polling stations, some of which were ordered to stay open hours after they were scheduled to close. In Snellville, Ga., two check-in machines didn’t have power cords and ran out of batteries. Paper ballots were handed out until the problem was fixed.

Despite the difficulties, voting nationwide was peaceful with one minor exception. Christopher Thomas Queen became angry Tuesday morning after poll workers in South Franklin Township, Pa., told him he wasn’t registered. He said he was “going to go get a gun and come back and shoot them,” said Melanie Ostrander, the assistant elections director for Washington County. Queen has been charged with terrorist threats and unruly behavior.

OUR EARLIER REPORT (8:56 p.m.): As voters went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the 2018 midterm elections, many states struggled with machine malfunctions, long lines, and extended voting hours. Reports of long lines and technical malfunctions were widespread across Georgia, with some voters saying they waited up to three hours. Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor, had trouble voting, and he oversees the election process as secretary of state. A judge ordered three precincts in one county to delay closing the polls, one until 9:25 p.m. Kemp’s problem with his voter card was ultimately fixed, but he has faced an ongoing dispute over his management of this year’s election. Kemp is running against progressive Democrat Stacey Abrams, who could become the nation’s first female African-American governor.

Voters in New York City and Houston also faced problems with voting machines and long lines. But not everything could be blamed on machines. A judge ordered 12 polling places in Porter County, Ind., to remain open 2½ hours later than the scheduled 6 p.m. closing time after voting didn’t start as planned. Some locations opened as much as 90 minutes late, according to Porter County Clerk Karen Martin, who blamed it on poll workers who quit or didn’t pick up their supplies.

Voters in the largely conservative Florida Panhandle are turning out in lower numbers than usual as they try to recover from Hurricane Michael less than a month ago, Reuters reported. Officials tried to keep people updated on polling locations and times amid power outages, and many residents faced major transportation issues.

In Dodge City, Kan., officials moved the town’s only voting site outside of the city limits and about 6 miles from downtown because the previous polling place, the Civic Center, was scheduled to undergo construction. After complaints, volunteers from across the country showed up to shuttle voters to the new site.

Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is a World Journalism Institute graduate. Follow Rachel on Twitter @Rachel_Lynn_A.

Read more from this writer
Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

Read more from this writer