necn Investigates: Voting Access Advocates Report Long Lines, Broken Machines, Even Wrong Ballots in Massachusetts, New Hampshire | NECN

necn Investigates: Voting Access Advocates Report Long Lines, Broken Machines, Even Wrong Ballots in Massachusetts, New Hampshire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Several voters across New England say they experienced problems at the polls on Election Day. necn Investigates tracked several of those issues. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016)

    Reports of long lines, broken machines – even wrong ballots – that’s what we’re hearing from access advocates this voting day.

    Some voters say it took them more than an hour to cast their ballot at Cathedral High School in Boston's South End this morning. It was one of several complaints taken by voter access advocates working together in Massachusetts. Excessive lines were also noted in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office tells us they sent additional poll workers to Cathedral and are investigating issues at the other locations.

    Advocates tell necn investigates they’ve also received complaints of blocked entry for voters with disabilities at the Greenwood Academy in Hyde Park. They say election officials did come and fix the problem.

    Broken voter machines were reported in Boston, Lynn, Chelsea, Haverhill, Lawrence, New Bedford and Springfield.

    And the advocates took complaints from several voters that their voter registrations were not properly transferred from the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles. They were reportedly forced to cast provisional ballots - and hope the issue can be sorted out later. We’re waiting on a response from the RMV.

    Secretary of State William Galvin tells necn, some voters in Haverhill also had ballot issues.

    "Some legislative voters were given the wrong ballots - wrong district," he said. "It’s a concern, but not a fatal one we don’t think."

    Pam Wilmot of Common Cause Massachusetts said, "What if they get the wrong ballot? Whatever races are incorrect, their vote does not count and that is a fatal error for those offices."

    We did speak to the clerk in Haverhill. She said the problem was quickly identified and fixed, but some voters did cast improper ballots. The city says they’re investigating.

    In both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, there have been issues with machines not working properly.

    necn Investigates was told in one polling location at Northwest Elementary School in Manchester, New Hampshire, 2,500 voters registered today and the school snakes around the gym, into the hallway and out the door. Earlier in the day, absentee ballots were fed into the machine, causing it to jam. Officials told us the problem was due to the ballots being mailed back folded up. It is an issue officials are working on correcting.

    Election officials in New Hampshire tell us there has been a heavy turnout of new registrations. They started off with 1,000 registration forms but have run out three times before 2 p.m. today. necn was told more registration forms had to brought in.

    In Dover, polls were ordered to remain open until 8 p.m. instead of 7. A court document shows that the New Hampshire Democratic Party requested the extension after an email from the city incorrectly gave the closing time as 8 p.m. Rockingham County Superior Court granted the motion to change the closing time.

    According to the Secretary of State’s office, there have been any reports of voter intimidation or any guns present at any of the polling sites.

    However at Merrimack and Hudson polling sites, there have been some major traffic issues since many people are trying to vote at the same time.

    If you have encountered a problem at the polls, email us at necninvestigates@necn.com, call 617-630-5025 or Tweet Ally at @AllyNECN.

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