electionlineWeekly’s 2018 Election Day Recap

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It may be hard to believe, but Election Day 2018 is already ten days behind us … and one way you can tell is that Mindy Moretti of electionlineWeekly has done her deeper-dive state-by-state recap of the day. Check it out:

As we noted last week, Election Day 2018 saw a series of issues, but for the most part it was relatively business as usual, even with the high turnout and the counting and recounting drama that has ensued in small number of states.

There were long lines. There were machine malfunctions. There were power outages. Some people weren’t able to cast their ballots. There were puppies, goats and a chicken. In other words, in most states, it was a fairly typical Election Day, even though turnout was fairly atypical for a midterm in most states.

Last week we took a broad view of how things went and this week we’ll take a closer look at how Election Day 2018 went in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

There is still a lot more to cover from the election that was and we’ll do that throughout the remainder of 2018 and into 2019.

And as well all know some counties and states are still counting and recounting ballots.

But for now, here’s a state-by-state look at the election. And don’t forget to check out our Election Day Dispatches for all the news from November 6.

Alabama —The Yellowhammer State rolled out electronic pollbooks more broadly this election and from all reports, things seemed to go well. While the e-poll book roll out went well, that doesn’t mean the day was without problems. In Montgomery County, some voters received incorrect ballots, some polling places opened late and some ran out of provisional ballots and change-of address forms.Madison County voting machines had problems tabulating ballots. Incumbent Secretary of State John Merrill was elected to a second term.

Alaska — The biggest news out of the biggest state was probably about how awesome the state’s early voting “I Voted” stickers were, but there was some other news. Early morning voters at one Anchorage polling place were without paper ballots after an election worker left them at home. Voting machine problems delayed the results in some areas of Southeast.

Arizona —Election Day in Arizona was vastly different than primary day. Although there were still some issues that arose, overall things went well. In Maricopa County, one polling place failed to open on time because the building had been foreclosed on overnight, and there were some issues with lines, but overall it was a major improvement from the primary. In a move that we’ll label brilliant, the Arizona Humane Society brought PUPPIES to one polling place for people to pet while they waiting in line. All the puppies were available for adoption. At press-time ballots are still being counted including more than 100,000 in Maricopa County. The race for secretary of state is trending toward Democrat Katie Hobbs after being called on Election Night for her GOP opponent Steve Gaynor.

Arkansas — Voters in Arkansas approved a constitutional amendment that will make the state’s existing voter ID law legal. Baxter County, which consolidated from 22 individual polling sites to 11 vote centers faced long lines on Election Day. Some voters in North Little Rock received incorrect ballots. Results were delayed in Phillips County due to faulty software. Officials in Benton County failed to count 900 ballots on election night because of an overlooked thumb drive. Republican John Thurston, Commissioner of State lands since 2011 was elected secretary of state.

California — While vote counting continues in many counties in California, there were some Election Day issues to talk about. Voters reported voting machine issues inLos Angeles County and Orange County. In San Diego County there were reports of a few dozen voters being left off the poll books. In San Joaquin County, a school board race was left off hundreds of ballots. Large turnout at vote centers lead to long lines and wait times in Sacramento County. Last-minute voters were faced with long lines, waits at the Riverside County registrar’s office. In Cudahy, a chicken walked into a polling site and distracted voters enough that they complained to county election officials. And incumbent Secretary of State Alex Padilla was elected to a second term.

Colorado — Although overall turnout is still shaking out, Colorado, with its system of vote-by-mail and vote centers had about a 78 percent turnout rate, one of the highest in the nation. There were some glitches in Mesa County including long lines, computer problems and a fire alarm. Voters in Aspen approved a ballot measure to change the municipal election day. In the race for secretary of state Democrat Jena Griswold defeated incumbent Wayne Williams.

Connecticut — The biggest problems in The Nutmeg State occurred in New Haven where once again the registrar of voters struggled to keep up with the volume of residents choosing to register and vote on Election Day. In Meridian, hundreds of voters were told they weren’t on the voter rolls. And like other areas, wet ballots caused problems with counting. Incumbent Secretary of State Denise Merrill was re-elected.

Delaware — Strong storms didn’t stop voters in the First State from casting their ballots. There were some complaints about voters being asked for ID, although state Elections Commissioner Elaine Manlove pointed out that’s the longstanding practice.

District of Columbia — Voters and poll workers rushed to the aid of a voter in one D.C. precinct and administered CPR to save the voter’s life after he suffered a cardiac arrest. As the D.C. Fire & EMS tweeted after the incident, the voter did not get to cast his ballot, but he did get to live. Also in D.C. for a long time the city had only 99 percent of precincts reporting because on precinct—Precinct 110—the poll workers did not electronically transmit the results to the Board of Elections and then when a BOE representative went to the polling place to retrieve the results, the polling place was locked. Official were eventually able to retrieve the software on Wednesday.

Florida —While Florida has been pretty much all anyone can talk about since Election Day due to recounts in several hotly contested races, to be fair, Election Day itself in the Sunshine State was pretty smooth sailing with only a few minor problems. We’ll go more in-depth into the recount in the weeks to come, but as for Election Day, like everywhere else, there were lines at polling places throughout the state. A man with a gun in a car in the parking lot of a Palm Bay polling placed caused some panic before he fled the scene. In Melbourne a man threatened to blow up the supervisor of elections office. Voters overwhelmingly voted to approve Amendment 4 which will automatically restore the rights to ex-felons once they’ve completed the terms of their service.

Georgia — Election 2018 is far from over in Georgia. On Election Day itself voters faced hour-long waits. Some of it was due to volume, some it was due to malfunctioningmachines and others it was due to a lack of sufficient voting machines. Georgia remains in the headlines long after Election Day because the governor’s race has yet to be called with multiple lawsuits determining how and when absentee and provisional ballots will be counted. One thing is certain, the race to be Georgia’s next secretary of state is headed for a December runoff.

Hawaii — There was very little trouble in paradise on Election Day, but some Waianae polling places reported running out of same day registration forms. On Oahu, there were several broken voting machines early the morning that had to be fixed.

Idaho — High turnout in Bingham County forced the county elections office to bring additional voting machines to one polling place in Blackfoot. A high number of absentee ballots slowed the count in Latah County. Canyon County found 39 additional ballots from military and overseas voters that were not included in the election night, but were ultimately counted. Voters in Bonner County were alarmed that a paving project at the polling site was inhibiting access to the polling place.

Illinois — Two polling places in DuPage County were forced to stay open until 7:30pm due to machine failures earlier in the day. Students at Northern Illinois University inDeKalb County complained about long lines that prevented some of them from casting a ballot. The Danville Election Commission’s website suffered some sort of technical glitch on election night and people weren’t able to check it for results. During the initial posting of results, McHenry County failed to include 10 of thousands of votes. One polling place in Hyde Park temporarily ran out of ballots. Voters in Bloomington rejected a question that would have dissolved the city’s election commission.

Indiana — With 99 counties, there were numerous minor glitches and problems, and voters waiting in line throughout the Hoosier State, but nowhere were there problems like in Porter County and in Johnson County on Election Day. In Porter County, the county’s commission asked the FBI to investigate what they called “scores of alleged violations of Indiana Election Law.” The county did not even begin counting ballots until Wednesday morning, this after 12 of the county’s vote centers opened late on Election Day. Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs attributed the county’s woes to a variety of factors, including heavy voter turnout, but told the Indianapolis Star “big changes” were needed to prevent a report of the situation in the county of about 170,000 residents. “What we have here is a total breakdown in the process,” he said. In Johnson County, Clerk Sue Ann Misiniec told The Daily Journal that it was a “perfect storm” of problems that lead to machine malfunctions on Election Day and late results on election night. Incumbent Secretary of State Connie Lawson was re-elected.

Iowa — There were very few reports of problems with the state’s voter ID. About 30 ballots in Winneshiek County arrived without postmarks and therefore could not be counted. For the first time Iowa counties conducted a post-election audit. Incumbent Secretary of State Paul Pate was elected to a second term.

Kansas — As was the case in several states, college students at Kansas State ran into issues when trying to cast their ballots due to a voter registration mix-up. Counting inWichita County took longer than usual. “Human error” led to inaccurate election results being published by the Crawford County Clerk’s office. Platte County suffered a power outage during voting, but voters were able to continue casting ballots. There were few reported problems with Dodge City’s single re-located polling place, although county officials did bar the media from the polling place. Republican Scott Schwab has been elected secretary of state.

Kentucky — In Fayette County, high turnout forced the clerk to send 30 additional voting machines to polling places and people had plenty of complaints about the county’s voting machines. One Knott County polling place faced issues at the start of the day. A locked ballot box slowed down the early morning vote in Jefferson County. Early morning voters in Owensboro got the wrong ballots. In Hartford, it took a coin toss to determine who would be the sixth member of the city council.

Louisiana — Issues arose at a New Orleans polling place that allegedly refused to open its parking lot to voters with disabilities. In Livingston Parish Registrar Jared Andrews reported that polling places remained open during a power outage, despite what media reports said. In sad news, there were no “I Voted” stickers for voters this year with the secretary of state’s office and local elections offices doing some finger-pointing over costs. And in the secretary of state’s race incumbent Kyle Ardoin (R) will face attorney Gwen Collins-Greenup (D) in a runoff.

Maine — The big news out of Maine is that the state’s new ranked choice voting system came into play in a Congressional race. Ballot counting is ongoing at press time, but Republican Bruce Poliquin who seemed to be losing in the ranking of ballots filed suit saying the system violated his constitutional rights. [UPDATE: Democrat Jared Golden won the seat.]

Maryland — Although turnout was high, there were relatively few problems throughout Maryland on Election Day except in Prince George’s County where one polling place ran out of ballots and it took officials, who blamed rush hour traffic, hours to get additional ballots to the site. Voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow for same-day voter registration.

Massachusetts — A faulty voting machine in Falmouth had to be replaced. Linda Hathaway the Stow town clerk noted that Election Day is not really all that different than throwing a party—for 5,300 people. In Boston, although voters faced wait times of up to two hours, the voting was going smoothly, it was just a volume issue. At least one voter in Monterey faced an issue with a poll worker asking for a photo ID although the state does not require it. Incumbent Secretary of State William Galvin was re-elected for a seventh term.

Michigan — Interim Pontiac City Clerk Garland Doyle said that contrary to reports, there were no issues with absentee ballots. Large turnout in the Detroit area meant long lines. Voters in Houghton County, who thought they had registered to vote online turned up at the polls only to discover that they were not since Michigan does not yet have online voter registration. Like voters in many other states, those in Michigan faced power outages as well. Voters in Michigan overwhelming approved Proposal 3which will change the way they vote in future elections. In the secretary of state race, Democrat Jocelyn Benson defeated Republican Mary Treder Lang.

Minnesota— Results from Jackson County weren’t uploaded to the state’s website until 1:20am on Wednesday due to technical difficulties. Due to a high volume of absentee ballots and write-ins Olmstead County was delayed in reporting results. The City of Tower once again faced problems on Election Day. Incumbent Secretary of State Steve Simon was re-elected.

Mississippi — Long lines faced voters in Harrison County. Greene County experienced a historic midterm election turnout of more than 71 percent, but hundreds of would-be voters were not allowed to cast a ballot. They filled out voter registration applications that were later rejected because attempts to verify their address failed. Mississippi will hold several runoffs in December.

Missouri— There was some confusion about what ID voters had to show in the Show-Me State. For hours elections officials in Clay County struggled with voting machines, but it wasn’t the fault of the machines, it was poll workers who were not properly operating the machines. A voting machine problem in Kansas City forced voters to leave their ballots in a pile to be scanned later. And high turnout saw several polling sites run low on ballots.

Montana — Heavy turnout and registration issues lead to long lines and delayed results in Butte County. Gallatin and Missoula counties saw an increase in provisional ballots. Wintry weather also caused some issues for voters in parts of the state. Cascade County had some issues getting all their ballots counted on election night.

Nebraska — High voter turnout, blank ballots and counting machine problems were among the things that lead to a delay in Saunders County election results. Republican Bob Evnen was elected to replace retiring Secretary of State John Gale.

Nevada — Voters faced long lines well past poll closing time which elections officials blamed on high turnout and a move to vote centers. In Las Vegas, 82 of 172 sites remained open past the 7p.m. close time. Some sites in Washoe County were open three hours after closing to accommodate voters in line. Computer programming problems slowed voters in Lyon County. Voters in Nevada approved Question 5 which will make registration automatic when they obtain a new or renew their driver’s license.

New Hampshire — Strong turnout and registration was reported throughout Manchester. A woman was seriously hurt when she was pinned under a car at a polling place in Windham. Other traffic problems and technical issues were among the calls fielded by the state’s Election Day Hotline.

New Jersey — As anticipated, the biggest issue in New Jersey stemmed from the state’s new vote-by-mail law. Not only were voters confused by the new law, butelections officials struggled with it as well leaving many ballots uncounted for several days after the polls closed. New voting equipment in parts of Union Countyproved troublesome for voters and elections officials.

New Mexico — There were very few issues on Election Day in the Land of Enchantment, but problems did arise on Dona Ana County on election night. The county received way more absentee ballots than it anticipated and it took longer to tally those than expected and now a candidate who had been winning on election night is losing and has asked the New Mexico State Police to impound the ballots. Incumbent Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver was re-elected.

New York — Perhaps you should expect problems on Election Day given that New York City has more than 9 million residents, but voters in Gotham once again faced a problem-filled day on Election Day. This time the problems seemed to stem from problems with wet ballots and not enough ballot-scanning machines to go around. Things got so bad at one point in the day that the president of the city council called on the board of elections director to resign. For his part, the BOE director accepted some of the blame, but also blamed voters for the problems and a two-page ballot. Voters in Saranac Lake had issues voting because of their IDs. In Ontario County poll workers ran pens under hot water to try and get them to work. And in our favorite Election Day tradition in the Empire State, women in Rochester placed their “I Voted” stickers on the grave of Susan B. Anthony.

North Carolina — High volume and high humidity caused problems in North Carolina on Election Day. The humidity caused issues with ballots properly feeding into the counting machines in Wake, Cumberland and a handful of other counties. Severe weather also knocked out power to a number of polling sites. Lenoir County and Wake County had some issues with election night tallies. Voters approved a constitutional amendment that would require them to show a photo ID at the polls in future elections.

North Dakota — After failed lawsuits, Native American tribes scrambled to get members IDs in order to cast ballots on Election Day and although there were some issueswith IDs, Native voter turned out in record numbers on the 6th. Incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger won re-election, but announced that this will be his final term.

Ohio — Power, or lack thereof plagued many polling places throughout the day in Ohio, but voters were able to continue casting ballots, even if it meant doing it by flashlight in some instances. Some counties, such as Lucas and Miami had issues with reporting results. A new voter alert system in Hamilton County, while functioning properly, caused a quite a bit of confusion with voters. Due to high turnout, elections officials in Cuyahoga County had to print additional ballots. Republican Frank La Rose was elected secretary of state.

Oklahoma — Although there were reports of minor problems in polling places on Election Day, it was “nothing out of the ordinary,” according to Bryan Newell, director of operations for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. Newell told local media it appeared elections officials were fixing those problems quickly.

Oregon — Oregon votes by mail and has automatic voter registration so the only thing we really have to report about in Oregon is that voters in Lane County shot down an effort to change the county’s voting system to the STAR system. STAR stands for Score Then Automatic Runoff which would have allowed voters to award each candidate a score ranging from 0 to 5. The two candidates with the highest cumulative scores would then go to an instant runoff.

Pennsylvania — Like most states, there were reports of high turnout which lead to long lines and wait times, and while there were technical issues in the commonwealth, there weren’t any major voting machine issues. In Pittsburgh, a man threatened to shoot up a polling place, in York County, there was a bomb threat and sadly in Forks Twp., a woman who had just voted was struck and killed by a car. In Luzerne County, 15 of the county’s 220 e-poll books had battery issues. Philadelphia voters got their own, very special “I Voted” stickers.

Rhode Island — Like in many other states, there were reports of long lines to vote on Election Day in Rhode Island. A voting machine on Prudence Island had to be replaced and the new one had to be sent over on a ferry. And while initial reports were that no one at all voted in one Providence precinct, it turns out that one, one lone voter actually showed up and voted that day. Incumbent Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea was re-elected.

South Carolina — The biggest news out of the Palmetto State on November 6th was the ongoing problems that plagued the state’s aging voting equipment. The problems with the machines were exacerbated by high turnout and led to long lines in many of the state’s counties. And in Charleston, the machine issues were compounded by nearly 200 poll workers not showing up as assigned. Delays just didn’t plague voting either. A couple of counties—Richland and Beaufort—had reporting issues.

South Dakota — Following numerous problems with e-poll books during the primary earlier this year, Election Day was a a relatively smooth affair. Sioux Falls voters reported seeing KKK flyers on the ground at one polling place, but no one contacted the police about it. Republican Steve Barnett won the race for secretary of state.

Tennessee — Like many other states, Tennessee faced severe weather on Election Day that knocked out power to some polling places. Paper ballots had to be used in 3Knox County polling places. One Shelby County polling place opened late and the county also experienced some issues during tabulation due to outdated equipment. Voters waited two hours to cast a ballot in Antioch. A computer glitch delayed results in Hawkins County. And in Memphis, voters shot down the city council’s attempt to repeal instant runoff voting.

Texas — Heavy voter turnout that began during early voting in Lone Star State showed no signs of slowing down on Election Day. About 400 Election Day ballots in Brazos County were uncounted after they were left in a voting machine. Straight-ticket voting, which has seen its last election in Texas, went out with a bang in Denton County. Vote centers in Nueces and Wichita counties were deemed successful. Four polling sites in Laredo ran out of ballots. Polling hours were extended in Harris County to accommodate the crowds. Travis County’s website crashed on Election Day.

U.S. Virgin Islands — This was the first major election the Caribbean territory has held since the devastation of Hurricane Maria and by all accounts, things went well andturnout was high. The territory is now preparing for runoff elections in December.

Utah — Although many people in Utah chose to cast their ballot by mail, people still showed up at the polls on Election Day. In Utah County that meant people were still waiting in line three hours after the polls had closed. Gov. Gary Hebert did not mince words over the administration of the election in Utah Co. “The voting public deserves better,” the governor told the Deseret News in a prepared statement. “Anytime we have a glitch on election night, Utah County seems to be the epicenter of dysfunction.”

Vermont — Election Day was relatively smooth in Vermont, but Vermont Public Radio did report that non-English speaking voters had issues at the polls in Burlington. Incumbent Secretary of State Jim Condos was re-elected.

Virginia— Turnout was high during early absentee voting and on Election Day throughout the Commonwealth. In the city of Chesapeake, voters in one precinct received incorrect ballots. Like other states, polling places in Virginia were hit with power outages, but voting continued. In Roanoke County, e-poll books could not connect to the server so poll workers relied on paper rolls. Dozens of Radford students were turned away from the polls after there were issues with their ballots.

Washington — Although turnout was high, there few if any problems reported in this all vote-by-mail state.

West Virginia — Like many states, voters in West Virginia faced severe weather on Election Day with some suffering power outages. In Kanawha County there was a 1,700 vote discrepancy between the printouts from the voting machines and the ballot stubs from the poll workers. The secretary of state’s office is investigating why voters were left of the rolls in Raleigh County. And in the most talked about thing in the Mountain State from the 2018 election, about 144 West Virginians in 30 states used the new Voatz app to cast their ballots.

Wisconsin — Election Day was relatively trouble-free in the Badger State with record midterm turnout. There were some issues though such as in Milwaukee where 2,000 absentee ballots had to be remade after there were issues with the glue to seal the envelopes. Misprinted ballots were given to at least 54 voters in Stratford and hundreds of voters go incorrect ballots in Howard. GOATS! A group called Next Gen Wisconsin hosted a Votes and Goats petting zoo at a polling place in Stevens Point. Although there was no news of it on Election Day, a Milwaukee-area man was charged with making threats against polling places. And on opposite ends of the spectrum there werereports of two poll workers wearing inappropriate clothing.

Wyoming —Like many states, Wyoming saw in an increase in early/absentee voting ahead of the 6th.Election Day and night were relatively smooth in the Cowboy State. In Campbell County, elections officials did have to remake about 30 absentee ballots in order for them to be counted. Incumbent Secretary of State Ed Buchanan (R) was elected for the first time (he had previously been appointed to the seat).

Thanks as always to Mindy for this exhaustive (and exhausting!) roundup, which is the product of her efforts to find and post literally thousands of stories in the weeks surrounding Election Day. [She’s giving herself and the newsletter a rest next week – and who can blame her?] There are so many great stories on which to follow up in the weeks ahead. Until then, best of luck to the states and localities still counting … and to the rest of you, stay tuned!

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