Machine malfunctions and delayed poll openings across Texas slow the voting process
According to the Dallas Morning News, voting locations across Texas experienced delays after machines malfunctioned, causing even longer lines and some voters to abandon the polls.
An Arlington woman reported none of the voting machines at T.A. Howard Middle School were working this morning, so poll workers started giving out paper ballots, but only for one precinct.
“People not registered in that precinct couldn’t vote, so many had to leave,” Daisy Martinez, a Texas deputy registrar and poll greeter in Addison told the Dallas Morning News. “The woman who told me about it said she left but later went back and the location had paper ballots for other precincts. I don’t know whether other people who left were able to return.”
As of 1:30 p.m. this afternoon, Martinez did not know if the machines had been fixed or not, according to the DMN.
A CNN political reporter tweeted about the situation in Arlington, and the Texas Civil Rights Project tweeted a hotline affected voters can use to report problems.
This is extremely troubling. If you are one of the voters in Arlington that left a polling place without having voted due to broken machines and a lack of paper ballots, please call us now at 866-OUR-VOTE!! https://t.co/yBFD8SK9Ob
— Texas Civil Rights Project (@TXCivilRights) November 6, 2018
Harris County also experienced significant problems with polling locations. According to the Texas Tribune, a state district judge ordered Harris County to extend voting hours until 8 p.m. at nine polling locations that didn’t open on time today.
The Tribune reported Texas Civil Rights Project and the Texas Organizing Project sued the county over the delays, since the locations would not be open for the 12 hours as mandated by Texas state law. The locations also experienced equipment malfunctions in addition to the late opening.
These are the Harris County locations that will be open until 8 p.m., according to the Tribune:
- Iglesia Trinidad (Precinct 0597)
- Metcalf Elementary (Precinct 0882)
- Evelyn Thompson Elementary (Precinct 0061)
- Hampton Inn Katy Fwy (Precinct 0055)
- Fiesta Mart, Inc. (Precinct 0541)
- John Marshall Middle School (Precinct 0046)
- HOAPV Community Building (0030)
- Lone Star College Cypress Center (Precinct 305 and 951)
- Houston Community College Alief Center (Precinct 0428)
Although only nine locations were ordered to remain open for an extra hour, the Tribune reported some 18 locations experienced delayed openings, with some having only one or two functional machines (there are supposed to be 8 to 16).
Hector de Leon, director of communications and voter outreach for the Harris County Clerk’s Office, told the Tribune that delays such as this are to be expected on Election Day.
“There’s nothing atypical about this morning,” de Leon told the Tribune. “It’s just the nature of Election Day morning.”
Dallas County’s Rice Chapel AME Church in east Oak Cliff was also affected, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The DMN reported that some voters waited for the machine to become operational again, but others gave up and left the location.