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Voting advocates are seeing more reports of machine breakdowns than usual
A man votes at City Hall in San Francisco on Nov. 8. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, said observers are seeing more problems with voting machines than they have encountered in past election years.

“There are more machine breakdowns and more malfunctions all over the place,” Weiser said. “It’s really widespread.”

She said the breakdowns are not totally a surprise because 42 states are using machines that are at least 10 years old. So far, Weiser said there have been machine breakdowns in Newark, all across South Carolina, New York City, Missouri, Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Chicago and Indiana.

“These machines are just degrading,” Weiser said. “We’re not keeping up our voting machines.”

One specific problem has been “vote slipping,” where a voter presses a button on a touch screen for one person, but the machine shows the voter voted for another person because the machine is not matching up properly.

“We’ve seen more malfunctions and more vote slipping all over the place,” Weiser said. The malfunctions are affecting many different types of voting machines, not one particular kind, she said.

Weiser said that her main observation about Election Day so far is that “elections are messy.”

“The election system is messy, but overall it works,” Weiser said. “We have needed a lot of Band-Aids because we need to upgrade the election infrastructure.”

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