Tens of millions of Americans descended on the polls today as election watchdogs reported hours-long lines, sporadic equipment failures and confusion about polling places — but few signs so far of violence or voter intimidation.
Problems cropped up Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and elsewhere — key battleground states that could decide whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins the presidency. Most appeared to be the types of issues that occur during every election, rather than evidence of the "rigged" contest that Trump warned his supporters to expect.
A coalition of more than 100 civil rights and voting rights groups reported that more than half of the complaints received in the morning about voter intimidation or harassment came from Pennsylvania. Those included voters being asked to provide specific forms of identification that are not required and Hispanic voters finding no Spanish speakers to assist them.
“There is tremendous disruption at the polls today," said Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "This election may be the most chaotic election … in the last 50 years.”
The most widespread problem occurred in Durham, N.C., where electronic poll books used to check voter registration were down. Voters were still able to vote using paper back-up copies. As of noon, voters were able to check in and vote, though the process appeared to be taking longer than it would have had the electronic pollbooks been available.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice and a group of non-partisan organizations coordinating North Carolina's Election Protection Coalition asked the state Board of Elections to extend Durham County's voting hours by one hour, to 8:30 p.m.