With Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claiming the election would be rigged, voter fraud is a hot topic, but that’s not the kind of voting problems some are facing today. Only time will tell if fraud really is an issue, but some voters in North Carolina, a key swing state, are apparently having some serious problems with the voting machines.
Indiana struggles with voter fraud allegations
Officials in Indiana have been investigating evidence that could suggest voter fraud for some time, and the probe is expected to continue long after today’s polls have closed. According to ABC7 Chicago, authorities have labeled thousands of Indiana voter registrations as suspect, with 56 counties currently under investigation. Over the last month or so, various media reports pointed to concerns about an unusually high volume of changes being made to registrations, although officials say this may have been because this year’s elections are so contentious, as Indiana has some state races that are nearly as hotly contested as the Trump vs. Hillary race for the White House.
One thing that has me raising questions about all the problems is the fact that Indiana’s online database has changed in the last 30 days. I checked my own registration about a month ago before the deadline to register, and it showed me as registered, but when I went back today, it showed no voter registration record with my name and birthdate in my county. As I started to ask around, I learned that others in my state had registered to vote, but their names were not appearing in the online voter database.
I’m hearing that the reason could be that the state “shut down” the online database because the deadline to register to vote was passed. However, the website makes it appear as if you’re not registered even if you are. So either someone made a bad decision to do it this way, or the allegations of voter fraud in Indiana have taken another turn.
As it turns out, I was able to successfully cast my ballot. The polling place’s records are different than the online database, apparently. However, anyone who goes to the online database to check whether they are registered to vote may be deterred from going to their polling place because they think that they won’t be able to vote. Lines at some places are quite long, from what I’ve heard, and people who seriously doubt that they will be allowed to cast their ballot may be unlikely to wait to find out. While this problem probably wouldn’t fall under voter fraud, it’s still a concern.
North Carolina voters deal with technical voting problems
Meanwhile faulty machines are throwing a wrench into the works in several states, including the key swing state of North Carolina. Durham County pollsters had to use paper poll books. Other states, such as Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas and Utah, had problems at some polling places that caused long delays, and many voters who waited in line for an hour or more in some cases left, according to various media reports. As a result, it seems quite a lot of paper ballots will be cast during this high-tech age.
Reports of isolated voting problems are pouring in as well, such as in Florida where a woman was said to have pepper-sprayed a man at a polling place. Electionland has put together an excellent map of the U.S. that shows the voting problems that are popping up, based on Google Trends data. It seems likely that these problems will get even more scrutiny this year, based on how heated the presidential race is.