Amidst Election Day proceedings, several Maryland counties saw numerous problems according to local voters. Among the issues discussed, voters complained of long lines at the polls, problematic ballot scanning and vote validation.
At Westowne Elementary School in Catonsville, the waiting time to vote at one side of the school by noon was about two hours. However, another precinct housed on the other side of the same elementary school had a wait time of less than 10 minutes. An election official told the press that there was only one scanner for each of the precincts, with the side with the longer wait housing four times as many people waiting to vote.
It seemed that throughout Election Day, most of the delays reported in the Baltimore area voting precincts appeared to be tied to technical issues and errors. For instance, voters at Fullerton Elementary School in Nottingham claimed that the voting line was held up for more than an hour due to one of the two ballot machines breaking down.
“I saw lots of lines and thought, ‘OK, not so bad,’” said Janet De Niro, a voter who witnessed the hold-up at Fullerton Elementary School. “There were four people checking everybody in and that went fast… Once you voted, you had to wait in this large line to put your vote in and there was only one scanner, so I waited almost an hour.”
According to voters in Anne Arundel County and a wide area of Baltimore County, the scanner responsible for collecting participants’ entries went offline, forcing voters to place ballots into an emergency box. For Cub Hill Presbyterian Church, the only scanner halted voter submission for an extended period of time.
“We got an error message saying that the backup memory stick was full, so we had to transfer using the emergency bin for about 90 minutes until tech support came out and replaced our scanner,” according to Chief Judge Bettye Campbell.
At Towson Library, recovery from an early-morning scanner problem took longer than expected. As a result of the scanner jamming, witnesses said that the technical issue deterred many voting at the location.
“I was disappointed that we had to go home and then come back. I guess a lot of people didn’t bother to come back. The lady who told us the news was very casual about it. She wasn’t upset or anything,” said Elizabeth Balsano, one of the witnesses at Towson Library who later returned to cast her ballot following the early scanner jam.
Baltimore City and Harford County voters have reported being distributed partially filled-out ballots. According to Sera Matteo Boring, one of the first people in line at Homestead Wakefield Elementary, she was handed one of the aforementioned partially filled-out ballots to which she reported the problem to the state Democratic Party as well as the Harford County Board of Elections.
Voting officials at many of the locations with the previously mentioned technical issues reported that they called an engineer to troubleshoot and fix the problem with the machines or bring in new equipment.