United States Election Day Poll Gremlins Hit Voters

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By Dominic Gover | November 7, 2012 10:00 PM EST

Techno-woes: Reports of voting glitches widespread

Thousands of voters in yesterday's US presidential election were hit by technical faults at polling booths across the country, as new high-tech machines brought crashes, malfunctions, confusion and delays.

Technology woes hit New York, the city still coming to terms with the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Sandy. Generators powering temporary polling stations on Staten Island for people displaced by the natural disaster broke down, causing voting to be delayed.

Even the head of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, was left waiting to cast his vote by malfunctioning scanning machines in Manhattan.

In Pennsylvania, a voter reported that they repeatedly pressed the button for Barack Obama, only for the touch screen to log their preference as Mitt Romney. This fuelled conspiracy theories that the polls were being rigged against the president.

In Indianapolis, voting was delayed when 500 voting machines were found to be incorrectly programmed, forcing technicians to carry out on-the-fly repairs in order for people to cast their vote.

Faulty voting machines in Richmond, Virginia, reportedly led to voters being turned away and told to return later, even though this was next to impossible for many voters faced with long journeys. Long queues were still in place when polls closed at 7pm.

Chaos over email voting reached new heights at one station, in New Jersey. Voters told of their emails bouncing back. Meanwhile, concerns were raised when one official began accepting votes via personal email - a huge potential fraud risk with the risk of votes being recorded for non-existent citizens.

Security experts "recoiled in horror" at the case, reported the Daily Telegraph. Matt Blaze, an IT expert who audits voting systems said: "The email voting scheme has so many ways it can fail, or that doubt can be cast on the integrity of the results," he said.

Election day glitches were not only factors in cases of chaos. Complaints were made by civil rights groups in Indianapolis that officials were demanding to see voter ID from labourers at work sites, despite a judge ruling that no such identification was required. Long queues at polling stations in South Florida for early voters were reported, with the system grinding to a halt.

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