Vоters Find Lоng Lines And a Range оf Irritants, But Nо Outright Disruptiоn

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Voters in line outside a school in the Bronx on Tuesday.

Hiroko Masuike/Newspaper Post

Voters nationwide endured long waits in line, malfunctioning voting machines, ill-informed poll workers and a litany of lesser annoyances on Tuesday with scattered reports that some voters gave up trying to cast ballots.

There were claims of illegal electioneering and intimidation by partisans on both sides, but the fears of widespread chaos at polling places, and even violence, failed to materialize as polls began to close on the East Coast.

Nor did there appear to be any organized effort to disrupt the vote, either by supporters of the candidates or by hackers seeking to break into voting or registration databases.

“It’s pretty much what we’d expect to see,” David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, said at midday in New York. “There are scattered indications of machine breakdowns that are being addressed.”

Mr. Becker was among the experts on hand at the New York headquarters of Electionland, a joint journalism project by the nonprofit group ProPublica that was tracking voting problems by monitoring social media, calls to election hotlines and reports from 400 participating news organizations.

The most consequential breakdown may have occurred in Durham, N.C., a Democratic stronghold in one of the most hotly contested states, where the State Board of Elections agreed to keep eight voting sites, which were scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m., open as late as 9 p.m.

A computerized system was supposed to allow Durham County poll workers to quickly verify a voter’s registration and print out a voter authorization slip.

But the system failed in some precincts, and poll workers reverted to the much slower practice of looking up each voter in a physical book, and filling out each slip by hand.

One voting precinct ran out of slips and closed for about an hour and a half, turning voters away, county officials said, and civil rights groups said that at least one other precinct had similar trouble. And in other places, the malfunction caused extremely long lines.

At North Carolina Central University, a historically black university in Durham, “it was a two-and-one-half-hour wait at 3 p.m.,” said Gunther Peck, a Duke University associate professor of history who was an organizer for President Obama’s two elections.

“Only 240 people had voted as of 4 p.m., and it should have been 500,” he added. “Dozens of students had to leave. It was good for Donald Trump, no doubt about that.”

Lily Lofthouse, left, and her brother Nick enjoyed what appears to be a more comfortable method of waiting in line with their mother, who was to vote at Bonneville Elementary School in Orem, Utah, on Tuesday.

Kim Raff for Newspaper Post

The Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina N.A.A.C.P., appealed to voters to stay in lines, no matter how long. “The battle you need to fight is the battle not to get discouraged,” he said.

Experts had expressed concern about intimidation at the polls in the wake of repeated insistence by the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, that the election was rigged, and his request for supporters to monitor the polls for fraud.

Groups ranging from Republican loyalists to white nationalists and extremist militia had promised to answer his call.

Election Protection, a coalition of groups operating a voter hotline, said it had fielded more than 30,000 complaints by early evening in the East, disproportionately affecting minority voters and students.

They had been directed to the wrong polling places, learned that their names had been purged from voter rolls, were wrongly told they had to fill out provisional ballots, were improperly asked for identification or had to wait in very long lines.

It cited problems in several states, notably closely contested ones like Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

Wait times were as long as two and a half hours at the poll in Maryvale Church of the Nazarene in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Caitlin O’Hara for Newspaper Post

Texans reported a range of electoral problems, from the mundane to the bizarre.

In Harris County, which includes Houston, incorrect instructions on official websites directed voters to polling places that had been moved elsewhere, said Anthony Gutierrez, the state executive director for Common Cause.

In Dallas County, one polling place remained shuttered for about two hours after it was scheduled to open, Mr. Gutierrez said, because the election worker who was responsible for opening it had died the previous night.

Voters from New Hampshire to Virginia to Missouri were complaining about long lines at their polling places.

At Glen Allen Elementary School in Henrico County, Va., waiting voters formed a large semicircle outside the school, though there were no malfunctions there.

“A friend of mine texted around 9 a.m. to say voting was taking one hour and 45 minutes,” said Daryl Watkins, a local resident. “Never before has it been that busy at a polling station.”

Tram Nguyen, a co-executive director of the New Virginia Majority, a voting advocacy group, said there were problems, but “nothing to levels that we would find alarming.”

A few partisans were nevertheless alarmed.

The conservative activist James O’Keefe, whose Project Veritas is known for undercover videos purporting to expose liberal corruption, sent followers an email titled “It’s worse than we thought.”

In it, he wrote, “Every staffer in our office is completely overwhelmed with reports of voter irregularity,” including “reports of busses crossing Mexican border in California going directly to polling places.”

A spokesman for the California secretary of state, which oversees election matters, said the office had received no reports of that nature.

And in Pittsburgh, an election judge summoned police officers to eject AmyJo Brown from a polling place after she refused the judge’s demand to produce an ID before voting.

Pennsylvania law requires first-time voters to produce identification before casting ballots, but Ms. Brown, 37, the founder of a media start-up, said she was a regular voter.

Ms. Brown said she had called local election officials, who came to the polling place to set the judge straight.

“When I went back in, they didn’t say a word to me.” she said. “They were muttering under their breath, but within my hearing, about my attitude. But I did get to vote.”


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