The headlines tell the story about what is happening at urban polling places in many cities across the country this morning as voting has opened for the 2018 midterm elections.
In Texas, the Houston Chronicle reported:
“Long lines and machines down at multiple polling places across Houston”
In Michigan, the TV station WXYZ in Detroit said:
“Voters turned away due to missing voting machines at precinct in Detroit”
In Georgia, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:
“Machines down, hundreds wait at one Gwinnett voting precinct”
If this is an indication of how things will go in urban voting precincts today then the will of the majority of voters may be stymied. If voting infrastructure is not operational then people can’t vote. And these problems seem to be happening only in areas with large concentrations of Democratic voters.
Here are more details about what is going on in these three states:
“Technical issues were causing long lines and forcing voters to resort to paper ballots at one Gwinnett County precinct Tuesday morning.”
“Around 9 a.m., Gwinnett County officials confirmed that the electronic Express Polls — which are used to check voters in to their precincts — were down at Anderson-Livsey Elementary School near Snellville. The line of hundreds of waiting voters stretched the entire length of the school.”
“At Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Detroit, voters arrived shortly after polls opened ready to vote. However, they were shocked to find out that the precinct wasn’t prepared – they had no voting machines.”
“Election workers said there was some sort of miscommunication about where those voting machines were left. It turned out they were locked in a closet on the other side of the school, a closet that election workers did not have access to.”
“In the meantime, voters were turned away.”
“Voters are seeing long lines at multiple polling places across Houston due to technical difficulties.”
“Brianna Smith of Katy, Texas has been waiting in line since 6:45 a.m. and has still not cast a ballot. Election workers told her there were issues with the machine that gives you your ticket to cast a ballot.”
“This was an early voting location so I don’t know how they could be having problems with their machines,” Smith told a reporter Tuesday morning.”
“As of 8 a.m., the line to vote was wrapped around the building several times according to Smith.”
“There were other reports of long lines and technical difficulties at polling places at Martin Elementary School in Alief, a nursing home polling location off Voss in Houston. the Holiday Inn polling place near NRG Stadium and that the polling place at Marshall Middle School in Houston still hasn’t opened as of 8:30 a.m. due to technical difficulties.”
Hopefully these are fairly minor incidents and won’t affect election outcomes today. It would be a tragedy if a large number of voters who want to cast ballots are unable to do so because of technical problems. Democracy depends on making voting easier, not harder. And right now in this country democracy needs all the help it can get.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.