Voting 2020: Swing states report few problems at polls

In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson stated Tuesday that “precincts are islands of calm.” In Florida, the spokesman for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections stated the day was “boring.”

In Georgia, the place the June major election was affected by widespread voting problems and delays, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stated Election Day was “successful” up to now. And in Florida, Secretary of State Laurel Lee stated that no voting safety points had been reported within the state.

Officials within the Democratic stronghold of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the meantime, reported no problems at polling locations or at the town’s absentee poll counting middle.

“No news is good news,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett informed reporters. “We’re off to a great start.”

One exception was in 4 spots of the important thing state of North Carolina. Statewide election outcomes will likely be delayed by at least 45 minutes — till 8:15 p.m. ET — after the state board of elections prolonged voting at 4 places that opened late on Election Day.

While voting proceeded comparatively smoothy in key states, although lengthy traces have been reported in some places, federal and state officers stated they have been working to fight deceptive data unfold by nameless robocalls that appeared intent on discouraging individuals from heading to the polls.

In addition, early indicators pointed to potential authorized showdowns in Pennsylvania, a key battleground that President Donald Trump narrowly gained 4 years in the past and has repeatedly criticized over its mail-in voting. As the polls opened Tuesday, Republicans filed a federal lawsuit that took goal at how election officers in Democratic-leaning Montgomery County dealt with absentee ballots that arrived earlier than Election Day.

The plaintiffs allege officers on this suburban Philadelphia county performed “pre-canvassing” of ballots earlier than 7 a.m. ET Tuesday and allowed individuals to repair perceived defects of their ballots. The Republicans have requested a federal decide to order county officers to put aside any modified ballots. They argue that treating mail-in ballots in another way in Montgomery County than different counties within the state violates the Constitution.

Montgomery County officers say they’ve complied with the foundations.

The dispute may have an effect on solely a fraction of ballots on this county that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton 4 years in the past. The GOP criticism identifies roughly 1,200 votes that may have been discovered faulty out of roughly 223,000 absentee ballots that had been forged in Montgomery County as of Tuesday morning.

Robocall warning

People throughout the nation reported receiving the nameless robocalls telling them to “stay home,” prompting warnings from officers in at least two states — Michigan and Nebraska — to ignore the messages.

Hashim Warren, who lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, acquired the decision and informed CNN he discovered it “disturbing” as a result of some voters may discover the decision intimidating.

Warren, who works in advertising, stated he has used mass textual content and name providers earlier than and knew this robocall was seemingly going to many different individuals. But he stated not everybody would know that.

“For example, my mother-in-law, I could see her really disturbed about ‘how did someone get my number,'” Warren stated.

The FBI stated Tuesday it was “aware of reports” of the robocalls however {that a} assertion earlier within the day from a senior official with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security company that the FBI was investigating the calls was not correct.

In Michigan, the state’s Attorney General Dana Nessel additionally flagged a misinformation robocall concentrating on Flint voters. The message informed them that if the road is just too lengthy they need to go away and are available again tomorrow.

This is categorically false as a result of voters have to be in line by Eight p.m. Tuesday to have their votes depend.

“Getting reports of multiple robocalls going to Flint residents that, due to long lines, they should vote tomorrow,” Nessel tweeted Tuesday. Obviously, that is FALSE and an effort to suppress the vote. No lengthy traces and at the moment is the final day to vote. Don’t imagine the lies! Have your voice heard!”

Isolated issues, so far

The once-in-a-century pandemic has dramatically altered how Americans are casting their ballots. More than 100 million had voted before the polls opened Tuesday, shattering records and likely reducing the number of people who will turn out to vote in person.
With hours to go before poll closings, the threat still remained for issues to arise, from the routine Election Day headaches — such as long lines and voting machines malfunctioning — to uniquely 2020 problems, including the threat that the coronavirus pandemic poses to voters and poll workers alike and the heightened fears law enforcement and election officials have about intimidation and conflict occurring at the polls.

In North Carolina, police arrested a man in Charlotte for trespassing at a local polling place on Tuesday when he showed up at the site — with a gun and a hound dog — after being instructed earlier in the day to leave.

In Pennsylvania, heavy turnout was reported in Bucks County, a competitive county in the suburbs north of Philadelphia. Some voters were waiting as long as three or four hours in line, according to Bucks County Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo. At Bensalem High School, CNN talked to voters who reported spending about 90 minutes waiting to vote.

In Arizona, long voting lines formed quickly at many polling places in populous Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and its suburbs. Polling stations opened at 6 a.m., and by 7:30 a.m. there were wait times as long as 45 minutes for voting sites in GOP strongholds such as Glendale, Chandler, Gilbert and Surprise, according to estimates posted on the Maricopa County Recorder’s election site.

Elsewhere, voting rights groups are monitoring potential problems after officials shuttered polling places because of the pandemic and potential confusion over many states’ new voting processes this election.

It's Election Day in America

Suzanne Almeida, the interim director of the Pennsylvania’s arm of Common Cause voting rights group, stated the state “is having a daily election day right here in Pennsylvania” but seeing long lines “because of polling locations opening late” and last-minute polling changes.

Mail-in ballots may delay tallies

Election challenges from the pandemic extend beyond the polls, as the millions of mail-in ballots are expected to lead to a delay in the counting of votes once the polls close — particularly in the battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the state legislatures failed to pass laws for processing absentee ballots before Tuesday.

“Look, the nation is on edge,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said Monday. But voters “ought to take consolation in realizing that they would be the ones who decide the winners of those elections — not any politicians, not any attorneys,” stated Stein, a Democrat.

Despite election officials’ warnings that it may take several days to finish counting ballots, Trump has continued to falsely claim that the count is supposed to be completed by Election Night. It’s politically beneficial to him to make the false suggestion because more of his supporters are expected to vote in person on Election Day, while more voters for Democratic nominee Joe Biden are expected to vote through the mail.

Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s chief election official, said it would likely be Wednesday before the state’s unofficial results were reported due in part to the high number of absentee ballots.

Lawsuits expected

Even earlier than polls opened on Election Day, each presidential camps have been gearing up for legal confrontations.
The changes to voting rules due to the pandemic sparked a litany of court cases over rules related to voting and the counting of ballots, and rulings continued right up to Election Day. On Monday, a Nevada judge tossed a GOP challenge that sought to stop the use of a signature verification software for not being stringent enough and to let poll watchers get closer to officials counting ballots.
In Texas, Republicans challenged more than 125,000 votes in Democratic-leaning Harris County, which includes Houston, because they were cast at drive-thru polling places, but a judge dismissed the suit Monday on technical grounds, saying the plaintiffs lacked standing.

But Harris County officials opted to close all but one of 10 drive-thru polling places on Election Day because the judge had questioned the validity of using tents as polling locations. The one remaining drive-thru site that will remain open Tuesday is the Toyota Center, which has “partitions and a roof” and meets the judge’s definition of a building.

Pennsylvania, in particular, could be the source of messy post-election legal fights. Last month, the US Supreme Court declined to take up a Republican challenge to a state Supreme Court ruling that absentee ballots could be accepted three days after Election Day, so long as they were postmarked by Tuesday, even if the postmark is not legible.

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But among the court docket’s conservative justices prompt the state ruling was unconstitutional, and the late-arriving ballots are being segregated in case of extra authorized disputes, although the state is counting them.

Trump, who has sought to forged doubts on the integrity of vote counting, warned within the closing days of the marketing campaign that he plans to dispatch his attorneys to key swing states similar to Pennsylvania. “As quickly as that election is over, we’re entering into with our attorneys,” the President told reporters over the weekend.

Poll watching

This election marks the first presidential contest since 1980 in which the Republican National Committee and the GOP presidential nominee will work together to monitor polling activity. In 2018, a federal judge allowed a consent decree to expire that for decades had sharply restricted the RNC’s “poll safety” activities without prior judicial approval.
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Voting rights consultants say they’re on look ahead to voting intimidation and suppression at the polls, particularly after Trump inspired his supporters to go to the polls to protect in opposition to alleged voter fraud.

The President additionally stirred controversy earlier this 12 months when he urged his supporters to vote twice — by absentee after which in individual — to check the election system.

Late Monday, Cochise County Recorder Lisa Marra in Arizona tweeted that her workplace had acquired dozens of calls from individuals demanding to know when their ballots had been counted. Cochise County, stretching from east of Tucson right down to the US-Mexico border, backed Trump in 2016.

“They know the date we acquired it,” she wrote. “Wanted to know date and time counted. Because the President stated in the event that they did not get that information to go vote once more tomorrow. Horrible recommendation for voters. STOP.”

This story has been up to date with extra reporting.

CORRECTION: This story has been up to date to appropriate the time polls opened in Arizona to six a.m.

CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Paul Murphy, Omar Jimenez, Katie Lobosco, Geneva Sands, Alex Marquardt, Curt Devine, Dianne Gallagher, Pamela Kirkland, Jason Morris, Bob Ortega, Holmes Lybrand, Jessica Schneider, Laura Jarrett, Evan Perez, Kelly Mena, Annie Grayer and Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.

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