At least 18 states are handling complaints about irregularities in voting, including delays caused by problems with electronic voting machines.
The campaign of Sen. Rick Santorum, who has conceded to Democrat Bob Casey Jr., said it had reports of hundreds of votes cast for the Pennsylvania Republican that mistakenly went to his opponent due to faulty electronic machines.
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In some states, poll workers were forced to use paper ballots instead of electronic voting machines, due to problems with programming errors or inexperience. Hours were extended in Lebanon County, Pa., and Delaware County, Ind., because of machine problems. In Colorado, Democratic Party officials asked a state judge to extend polling in Denver two hours because of long lines cause by faulty machines.
Voting equipment companies blamed most of the problems on human error.
"Any time there's more exposure to equipment, there are questions about setting up the equipment and things like that," said Ken Fields, a spokesman for Election Systems & Software Inc. "Overall, things are going very well."
In Delaware County, Democrats asked that voters taking advantage of longer polling hours be allowed to cast regular ballots, not provisional ballots, according to the Indianapolis Star. The Republican attorney for the Indiana Election Division argued that after the polls close, voters there must use provisional ballots, which are not initially factored into vote totals but set aside and counted later if necessary.
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Elsewhere across the nation:
- In Virginia, election officials asked the FBI to investigate misleading phone calls to voters, in some cases warning them not to vote.
In New Jersey, Republicans charged ballots on some Passaic County voting machines were preset with a vote for Democratic Senate candidate Robert Menendez. The attorney general's office said tests showed no problems, reported NBC News.
- A bomb threat forced a polling place to close in Madison, Wis., the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Poll workers sealed the ballots cast before the threat and transported them to a new site.
- A man in Allentown, Pa., smashed a touchscreen voting machine with a paperweight, possibly spoiling 130 previous votes. The voter reportedly believed Republicans were conspiring to steal the election.
- A poll worker in Kentucky was charged with assault and interfering with an election for allegedly choking a voter and pushing him out the door, the Associated Press reported. The voter told poll worker Jeffery Steitz he didn't want to vote in a judicial election because he didn't know enough about the candidates, but Steitz told him he had to vote in the race anyway.
- Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton, encountered problems at her polling site in New York City when she was told her name was not in the voter registration books there. The book mistakenly had been sent to the wrong location, forcing her to file an affidavit vote – a paper ballot that allows election workers to confirm that a voter is properly registered after their vote is cast.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department, under its Civil Rights Division, sent 850 poll watchers to 69 jurisdictions in 22 states to observe and monitor the elections at places where it saw potential for discrimination or other voting rights violations. The Justice Department has declined official comment on why any of the locations specifically were selected.
Hispanic voters in Arizona were stopped by three men, one of them armed, and questioned outside a polling place in Tucson, Ariz., according to voting monitors for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The group photographed the incidents and reported them to the FBI.