News & Politics

Pennsylvania Voter Sounds the Alarm Over Delayed Poll Opening, Voting Machine Issues

AP Photo/Matthew Brown

Election Day has finally arrived and with it comes complaints from one of the key swing states, Pennsylvania, of long lines and long wait times.

It is one of the most contentious presidential elections in modern history and long lines were expected, but some voters in the Keystone State got more than they bargained for.

I spoke with Pennsylvania voter Michael Holincheck, of Hazleton, who said it took him around two hours to cast his vote.

Holincheck, a frontline worker, explained to me that he arrived at the polls at 7:03 a.m., three minutes after the polls were supposed to open, and the doors were still closed.

Four minutes late is not too bad, but as the minutes started to creep by, the crowd got more restless, he told me.

“By 7:30 there was a general grumbling among everybody there,” he said. “At this point, one of the workers came out and said that it would be about another 10 to 15 minutes for them to open.”

“At about 7:45 a.m. he came back out again and said that it would be around another two minutes. At this point, people started saying they were calling the Luzerne County Board of Elections to report what was going on,” he added.

“At 7:50 a.m. the doors finally opened, there was suddenly movement in the line and then it kind of came to a dead stop after, I’d say, about 20 people got in there,” Holincheck told me.

Holincheck, who took a video of the line as he stood in it, waiting to vote, said that the man who kept giving them updates finally left the facility when the doors opened, and did not return while he was there.

“We got in there and we noticed there was an issue going on because we could see through the windows of the fire door and the same two people were at the same two machines, and the same one lady with her back to us was at the table, the registering table, for almost 15 – 20 minutes straight and no one was moving.

“Then word filtered out to us that the system went down. It took about another 10 minutes or so after that until the system went back up again,” he explained.

“I, myself, did not cast my ballot until around 9 o’clock, roughly two hours of which over an hour and 20 minutes was actually waiting for people to be able to vote,” he said.

He said he had heard one of the workers, who said he got there at 6 a.m., say to someone else that most of the volunteer poll workers did not get there until after 7 a.m. when the polling location was supposed to be open.

He also told me that he witnessed someone who had sent in a mail-in ballot attempt to vote again at the polling location but he was prevented from doing so by the poll workers who said that his mail-in ballot was his vote and he could not vote again.

Holincheck’s story echoes several stories that had been shared on Twitter from the state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday where issues appear to be running rampant.

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