Problems At The Polls: Voters Running Into Power Outages, Broken Machines And Five-Hour Waits

Plus, a fake news alert tells Democrats in five states to vote the day after the election.

As Election Day continues, key states such as Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania are experiencing glitches, with reports of broken machines, long waits and misinformation affecting when and where people vote. So far, the problems tend to be isolated, with only a handful of polls affected in each state — but they add up to thousands of poll locations across the country (a good third of which are based on machine malfunctions).

A fake CNN news alert and a mass text message told Democrats in Texas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas to vote on Wednesday, the day after the election, according to CNN, which was attempting to debunk the false news.

At least 17 polling sites in Florida have broken optical-scan machines, according to the nonpartisan group Election Protection, which has received reports that voters have been filling out paper ballots and then feeding them into the machines themselves. When the machines are broken, the ballots are supposed to be stored in a secure bin under the machine, but with the high voter turnout, those bins have been filling up, so poll workers have resorted to stuffing bags with the extra ballots.

Machine malfunctions are also widespread in Detroit, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Many voters in Pennsylvania have also been complaining that they never received their absentee ballots. There are questions of intimidation and illegal campaigning happening at polling locations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, where a man who identified himself as a Black Panther to FOX News waited outside with a nightstick.

In Virginia, the rain affected voting when wet hands and clothes dripping onto paper ballots made them difficult to scan, according to the State Board of Elections. Scanning machines were malfunctioning in Fairfax and Richmond, and poll workers gave out provisional ballots or turned voters away. Virginia Tech students report that their polling place was unexpectedly moved at the last minute, to a location 6 miles away.

University of Miami students also report that they experienced polling-place confusion, with students in one dorm building, Hecht Residential College, being sent to two separate locations, despite having the same address. MTV Choose or Loose Street Teamer Anthony Wojtkowiak discovered that some of the confusion might have been exacerbated by residential advisers, who posted signs and sent out an e-mail that read, "HECHT RESIDENTS - VOTING PRECINCT IS THE BANK UNITED CENTER." However, some Hecht residents, such as senior Romy Portuondo and freshman Michael Gotterer, were actually supposed to vote at Saint Augustine Catholic Church and were turned away from the Bank United Center after waiting in line for two hours.

"You have to go to the right precinct," Miami-Dade County Board of Elections rep Owen Torres told MTV News. "The information should be on your voter-registration card. Nothing's changed, so there shouldn't be any confusion. I know the campus is big, so you might be on one part of it and be assigned to vote somewhere else, but it should be on the card."

Voters in Detroit may have won the waiting game: The wait at Wayne County polling site Beth Eden Baptist was five hours and 1,000 people long. The station is not only understaffed, but they are handling three precincts, according to Election Protection.

In Ohio, voters in Cleveland and Columbus reported that they disappeared from the list at polls, despite voting from the same address for years. That's an issue the voter-registration databases had in those areas back in 2004 and 2006 that apparently had not been corrected.

Besides the typical glitches — from jammed up paper to misprints to outdated voter registration — power outages because of rain also affected four Los Angeles and two St. Paul, Minnesota, polling locations, according to NBC News.

MTV News is at the polls in all 50 states — check out our coverage all day long on MTV and right here on MTVNews.com. Then, tell us why you voted! Comment below, upload video at yourhere.mtv.com, or text VOTE to 66333 with your first name, age, state and a comment about your experience. Your message will appear on our election map and could appear on TV today!


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