Cyber attack, voting machine malfunctions, ballots mark problems at the polls

A full one-fifth of machines in Maricopa County, Az., were reportedly beset with significant issues.
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Voters in Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 8, 2022
Voters in Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 8, 2022
(Mark Makela/Getty)

A cyberattack in an Illinois county slowed the voting process on Tuesday, as numerous incidents of problems at the polls have occurred across the country during the midterm elections.

Computer servers in Champaign County, Ill., were impacted by the cyberattack, but the county clerk said that no data was compromised.

ABC7 said that state officials told the outlet that the issue was with a vendor. 

"The Champaign County Clerk's Office is aware of connectivity issues and computer server performance being impacted," the clerk's office posted on its Facebook page. "The Clerk's Office believes these are due to cyber-attacks on the network and servers."

The clerk's office noted that, for the past month, its "website has been the target of repeated D-DOS attacks," but that "the reinforced security and response from the Clerk's IT team has prevented these attacks from being successful and the Clerk's website has remained secured. No data or information has been compromised and the election is secure."

The office added that the cyberattacks "are a strategic and coordinated effort to undermine and destabilize our democratic process" and to discourage voters from voting.

"Election judges and staff are doing everything they can to process voters according to the requirements of election law while navigating these attacks," the office continued.

"This is a developing situation, and we will have more information as it becomes available. Let me reiterate that we are committed to making sure every voter has a chance to cast their ballot so please stay in line."

Meanwhile, in Luzerne County, Pa., poll hours were extended to 10 p.m. for in-person voting. A judge ruled that the polls would remain open later following issues with ballots, WNEP reported.

There were long lines at the polls because there wasn't enough paper, according to the outlet.

In the Pennsylvania county, voters cast their vote on a machine that looks like a tablet and the ballot is printed out on paper. Then, voters take the paper ballot and place it in either a tabulation machine or scanner.

Because of the lack of the proper paper for the ballots, some voters were given provisional ballots.

The Luzerne County Board of Elections and Registration will have a special meeting on Wednesday "for the purpose of the commencement of the adjudication process for votes cast for the November 8, 2022 General Election. This process will continue until completed and is open to the public," according to the office's website.

Lucerne County Bureau of Elections didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Elsewhere in the country, other major problems were reported. In Maricopa County, Az., officials confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that upwards of 20% of machines there were not functioning as they should have. 

"We've got about 20% of the locations out there," Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates told voters on social media, "where there's an issue with the tabulator where some of the ballots where after the people have voted, they try to run them through the tabulator and they're not going through."

County officials were scrambling to fix the issue on Tuesday, with voters being directed to alternative voting methods while the problem was resolved. 

In Mercer County, New Jersey, meanwhile, a "glitch" reportedly caused voting machines there to outright crash, according to CBS News.

County officials were warning that ballot-counting could be delayed on Tuesday night due to the problem. Voters were still able to cast ballots and election officials reportedly said the ballots would eventually be counted once the glitch was fixed; state Attorney General Matt Platkin urged voters affected by the issue to use paper ballots instead of digital voting machines. 

Other problems appeared more minor. Scanner issues in Floyd County, Indiana, were reportedly resolved early on in the voting process, according to WDRB.

A voting site in Albany, New York, meanwhile, also reportedly experienced problems with its ballot counting machine, CNYCentral reported.

local news outlet reported that the ballots impacted by the malfunction "will be put in an emergency bin to be counted by non-partisan inspectors" who will then "feed the ballots through a working machine."

Still other polling sites and districts experienced issues and delays unrelated to purely technical problems.

One Houston-area polling location allegedly saw a four-hour delay in ballot submissions, according to the New York Times, due to an election clerk walking off the job site and workers having failed to set up voting machines prior to the opening of polls.

Officials in Philadelphia, meanwhile, said on Monday that ballot-counting could be delayed for up to 30,000 ballots due to an election integrity lawsuit brought by local Republican officials.

In some cases the issue appeared to be related to user error. Another Houston-area polling place reportedly had to order new voting machines after the tabulating program on in-service machines was "closed."

Nicholas Ballasy contributed to this report.