Despite Concerns, Voting Goes Smoothly Across The Country

Nov 8, 2016
Originally published on November 8, 2016 9:27 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Voting around much of the country has gone fairly smoothly today despite fears of widespread disruptions at the polls. Still, there have been some scattered reports of problems like voting machine malfunctions. NPR's Pam Fessler has been watching the voting today, joins us now in studio. And Pam, what have you been seeing so far?

PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: Well, Audie, we went into this election today expecting a lot of problems - more than usual - including the possibility of a cyberattack. But so far - knock on wood - we're mostly seeing the kinds of problems that emerge in every election, polling places in a lot of - in several areas - open late for one reason or another.

In Durham, N.C., it was because electronic poll books that are used to sign voters in didn't work. So some voters were turned away. And the state's now considering whether or not to extend voting there tonight. There were also some complaints that voters in Texas and Pennsylvania were getting the wrong information about what ID they needed to show. And in Ohio, some voters were told that they had to vote on provisional ballots because the address on their ID didn't match their registration. But then the polling place ran out of provisional ballots.

CORNISH: Another concern people had was a so-called voter intimidation. Have you actually seen any of that so far?

FESSLER: Just a few scattered reports - none of the widespread poll monitoring that some people were worried about after Donald Trump called on his supporters to go watch the polls in certain areas for cheating. We did have reports of one man in the Philadelphia area who's with Trump adviser Roger Stone's Stop the Steal campaign, who was taking videos of people outside polling places. That's despite Stone's insistence that they'd only be conducting exit polls. And there were actually a few polling-place fights, including one in Jupiter, Fla., between a Trump supporter and a Clinton supporter that ended with a man being pepper-sprayed.

CORNISH: Now, there have been some questions about whether Donald Trump would accept the results of tonight's election if he loses because of his claims that the voting is rigged. And I understand that he actually spoke about that again today.

FESSLER: That's right. This afternoon, in an interview on Fox TV - again called the system rigged. And when he was asked whether the election would be over tonight, he said he'd have to look at reports of problems some voters are having, especially with touch-screen machines.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: There are reports that, when people vote for Republicans, the entire ticket switches over to Democrats. You've seen that. It's happening at various places today. It's been reported.

FESSLER: What he's referring to is something called vote flipping. There were several reports of that today in Pennsylvania. But election officials say there's nothing nefarious going on. It's something that can happen when the machines are old and need to be recalibrated. And voters can usually just correct the error before the ballot's cast or, if they continue to have a problem, tell the election official and go on to using another machine.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Pam Fessler. Pam, thank you.

FESSLER: Thanks Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.