California Voters Face Long Lines, Glitches, and Dysfunctional Voting Machines

This evening, hours before the polls closed in California, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the state’s voters to “stay in line” amid reports of long lines and dysfunctional voting machines.

A spokesperson for California’s secretary of state told the Associated Press that election workers in 15 counties reported problems connecting with the state’s voter registration database.  

In Los Angeles, where more than 5 million people are registered to vote, voters have reported long lines outside polling places. Inside, poll workers have been trying to keep up with LA County’s first redesign of its voting technology in more than a half-century. In some places, the wait to vote was three hours.

The New York Times detailed the snafus: 

At the root of the delays seemed to be slow technology. For the first time, voter rolls were electronic so people could cast their ballots at any vote center. But that meant when the tablets poll workers used to check in voters were overwhelmed, it caused major backups in the lines.

There was also confusion about whether those who had filled out interactive online ballots ahead of time could join a separate, shorter line. There were also reports of voting machines malfunctioning.

For weeks, state and county officials have been warning of long lines on Election Day, in part because of the new system and also because voters could register in person on Tuesday.

There were reports of two hour waits at several polling places throughout Los Angeles County, with poll workers directing voters to other sites that had equally long waits. Several machines reportedly failed, leaving many voting booths sitting empty and leading to even longer waits. At one polling place, a poll worker handed out candy to weary voters, and campaigns sent pizza to several voting sites at the University of California campuses

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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