Voting problems led to spike in calls to election protection hotline

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Complaints about anything from long lines to broken voting machines caused a spike in calls at the election protection hot line.

“This year far exceeded what we saw during the 2014 midterm election cycle,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of The National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The committee runs the hotline. 

More than 31,000 calls came in on election day compared to 22,000 in 2014.

Clarke says elections need improvement nationwide.

“In Georgia we heard about some sites where they didn’t have power cords for some machines, we heard about some places where poll officials didn’t know how to work the machines, and then there is just old equipment that just breaks down,” said Clarke. 

Calls from across the country came in for a variety of problems ranging from long lines, failed voting machines, and state election websites with inaccurate information.
Progressive groups argue all of that leads to voter suppression.

Danielle Root, voting rights manager at the Center for American Progress said, “we expect that a lot of people were disenfranchised because of these things.”

Root thinks more effort should go into making sure elections run smoothly.

“Ensuring there are enough resources on the grounds, enough polling locations where lines can be shorter. Also ensuring that there are upgrades to voting machines or tally systems,” said Root. 

Root says it’s too soon to tell if there were any major breaches in voter registration systems, or compromised voting tallies.

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