Poll problems: Long lines, fire alarms, malfunctioning machines

SPRING, Texas – Voters across southeast Texas reported some problems at polling places during Tuesday’s election.

At the Imperial Oaks polling location in Spring, voters were met with a long line.

“It should be a simple, in-and-out process,” voter Marcus Latham said. “Instead I’ve been waiting two hours. It makes it really difficult to go and vote.”

Officials blamed technical issues that shut down two of the 10 voting machines until about noon.

A couple of voters who didn’t want to wait used an emergency ballot where they could write in their choices.

Also in Spring, deputies detained a man who was carrying a gun and holding up a campaign sign with vulgarity on it. The man was later released after deputies determined he was not breaking any laws.

Voters at a Montgomery County location also saw some long lines, after some of the check-in machines went down, prompting volunteers to manually check voter identifications. Those machines were running again by 8:30 a.m.

“It was long,” voter Joe Hironoka said. “No phones, so we couldn’t cruise the internet to kill time.”

In Fort Bend County, there was some confusion when voters noticed that the date on their tickets was Sept. 23, 2013. Other tickets showed that the time stamp was off by an hour. Officials said those glitches won’t impact any votes.

In Rosenberg, also in Fort Bend County, one of the polling locations was evacuated when a fire alarm malfunctioned.

A few people who were voting at the time were given new access codes and allowed to continue voting.

Harris County officials said they are investigating reports of voter intimidation at a polling location in West University Place. Officials said that by the time an investigator and attorney arrived at the location, everything was quiet. Investigators will follow up the report on Wednesday morning.

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