Voters in various states across the U.S. experience long lines at polling locations, with those in Greenbelt, Maryland, having to wait to use one scanner for the entire precinct.
GREENBELT, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 8, 2016) (REUTERS) – Voters in various states across the U.S. experienced long lines at polling locations on Tuesday (November 8), with those in Greenbelt, Maryland, having to wait to use one scanner for the entire precinct.
Judy Birkenhead, the chief judge at the polling location at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, said the precinct was only given one scanner for its paper ballots, despite, Birkenhead said, being one of the larger precincts. Birkenhead said she requested more scanners from the Prince George’s County Board of Elections but said the answer was no.
Voters are choosing the next president as opinion polls showed Democrat Hillary Clinton with a narrow lead over Republican Donald Trump.
Anne Weldon, a 59-year-old bookkeeper, said it took her 30 minutes to vote, but then an extra hour and a half to get her ballot scanned.
“We’re frustrated, however, I met some nice, I was in line with some nice people, which made it go by faster, but I kept wondering why there was only one scanner and it should have been better prepared,” Weldon said. “The people should have been better prepared than this. I was also wondering what would happen if the one scanner we had broke?”
Birkenhead added that the county used paper ballots during the primary and that the ballots worked beautifully. She admitted that the turnout then was much lower.
For an election this big, 54-year-old journalist Matt Neufeld said the lack of scanners was inexcusable.
“The board (of elections) needs to do an immediate review and evaluation of this situation – even if it’s just this location – but this is inexcusable. Again I keep saying that, but this cannot happen on a presidential election day,” Neufeld said.
The Board of Elections in Prince George’s County was not immediately available to comment.
Nikki Charlson, a deputy administrator with the State Board of Elections, said most precincts only get one scanner. The boards at the state and county levels work together to distribute the scanners and any extra scanners are at the discretion of the county board. Charlston said given that it’s a presidential election, the turnout is much higher and long lines are being reported across the country.
Some inside were taking the lines in stride and making the best out of the situation.
“It wasn’t too bad. I mean, the line was rather long, a very long line, but just walking and I guess walking. It was okay. It was worth me standing in line, put it like that,” said Carol Ann Spriggs, a 68-year-old retiree.
Long lines were also reported in New Jersey and in New York.
In a battle that focused on the character of the candidates, Clinton, 69, a former U.S. first lady, senator and secretary of state, and Trump, 70, a New York businessman, made final, fervent appeals to voters late on Monday to turn out at the polls.
Clinton led Trump, by 44 percent to 39 percent, in the last Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll before Election Day.
A Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation poll gave Clinton a 90 percent chance of defeating Trump and said she was on track to win 303 Electoral College votes, with 270 needed for election.