Problems with e-voting reported early in US battleground states

Issues arose in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia

An electronic voting machine

An electronic voting machine

However, official reports were at odds with some of those watchdog reports during the morning.

The Election Protection watchdog site had reports or problems with e-voting machines from "numerous polling locations" in Columbus, Ohio. Asked about those, Jeff Ortega, the spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, said that office had not received reports of major problems regarding machine problems there.

"The polls opened on time, the average longest wait is about an hour -- in many cases, it's much shorter than that," he said, adding that there were "no major problems to speak of."

However, the Associated Press reported that there were problems when a "handful" of machines malfunctioned in Fairfield County, which is southeast of Columbus, while the wrong paper ballots were sent to two precincts, according to Debbie Henderly, the elections director there.

In Philadelphia, someone who answered the phone in the deputy city commissioner's office said there were "no more problems than usual" with e-voting machines in that area, though it was one in which there were numerous reports of machine malfunctions. A direct call to the office of Deputy City Commissioner Fred Voigt was not returned Tuesday morning.

Illinois was another state where voters were reporting problems with machines, Verified Voting's Smith said. However, Illinois is not considered a battleground state, as it is the home state of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Obama, and he is widely projected by pollsters to win the election there. The race between the two candidates is closer in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia, according to polls taken before election day.

Marc Ferranti in New Jersey and Nancy Weil in Boston contributed to this report.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
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