NORFOLK, Virginia (CNN) – Voters headed to the polls Tuesday morning in a historic 2008 presidential election, with citizens across eastern United States casting their votes.
People in the isolated New Hampshire village of Dixville Notch cast their ballots just after midnight. The village, home to around 75 residents, has opened its polls shortly after midnight each election day since 1960, drawing national media attention for being the first place in the country to make its presidential preferences known.
Watch: Obama's first win
Democrat Barack Obama won 15 of 21 votes cast, and Republican John McCain won six votes. It was the first time since 1968 that the village leaned Democratic in an election.
Since 1996, another small New Hampshire town - Hart's Location - reinstated its practice from the 1940s and also began opening its polls at midnight. The tally was Obama 17, McCain 10 with two votes written-in for Ron Paul.
Polls opened at 5 a.m. EST in Vermont and 6 a.m. EST in Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. Polls opened at 6:30 a.m. EST in North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Polls were to open at 7 a.m. EST in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Many voters chose to cast their ballots in the days and weeks before the election. With more states allowing voters to cast early or unrestricted absentee ballots this year, the potential for election-day problems have spread to other states now seen as battlegrounds in the race. Registration and absentee ballot issues topped last-minute concerns among voters in the days before Tuesday's presidential election, with one analyst predicting previous flashpoints may cause headaches again this year.
Of the more than 11,000 problems reported to CNN's Voter Hotline so far Monday, the largest number of complaints - more than 1,500 - come from Florida, where a hotly disputed recount settled the 2000 election. Another 450-plus originated in Ohio, where massive election-day turnout delayed the count in 2004.
The biggest complaints were early voting lines stretching for several hours, names that did not appear on voter rolls or absentee ballots that never reached the people who requested them. Similar patterns showed up among callers nationwide.
Broken voting machines were reported at the Penny Packer school in Willingboro, New Jersey, according to Joe Dugan, chairman of the Burlington County Election Board.
He said a mechanic was working on the machines and they are expected to be repaired soon. In the meantime, voters were being given emergency ballots.
(CNN) – Broken machines in Willingboro, New Jersey, have led to disruptions in voting, according to Joe Dugan, chairman of the Burlington County Election Board. Voters at Pennypacker Park Elemenary School have been given emergency paper ballots as a mechanic works on the machines, Dugan said. He added that he expects the machines to be up and running soon.
(CNN) – On the eve of Election Day, amid overwhelming public interest in the presidential race, some voters are being confronted with a sea of election-related misinformation.
Sheila Robinson, a resident of Dayton, Ohio, tells CNN that she received a robo call at her home Monday. The call informed her that Republicans would be voting on November 4 in this year’s general election, and Democrats would be voting on November 5.
That information is incorrect. The Ohio Secretary of State’s Web site is clear: Everyone in Ohio votes Tuesday, November 4.
Laura Jordan of the Montgomery County, Ohio Board of Elections, says she has not received reports of any calls like the one Robinson received. But Jordan also tells CNN that she has received reports of misleading automated calls giving voters incorrect information about the location of their polling places. Voters who call the county board reporting these types of calls are told the correct location for their polling place, according to Jordan.
If you live in Ohio, click here for voter information from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Web site.
CNN will be tracking voter problems through Election Day. If you have a problem or see a problem, call the CNN Voter Hotline at 877-462-6608. See what issues are a concern in each state by clicking on the interactive Hotline map at cnn.com/hotline.
(CNN) – Sometimes what seems like a political “dirty trick” is just a simple mistake.
The Virginia State of Board Elections issued a “Rumor Buster” press release Monday in response to reports of misleading robo-calls from multiple locations across the state.
But it turns out that the misinformation was just an accident caused by a computer glitch. “The technology, God bless technology, was incorrectly giving people their polling precincts,” Jean Cunningham, chair of the Virginia State Board of Elections, told CNN Monday. “Highly sophisticated software that went amok.”
Cunningham also told CNN that, in addition to the “Rumor Buster,” corrective phone calls were being made to everyone who received one of the incorrect automated calls.
If you live in Virginia, click here to search for your polling place on the state board’s Web site.
(CNN) – In the final hours before Election Day, callers to CNN’s Voter Hotline are reporting misinformation that is circulating in some of the battleground states, including some that were intended as jokes.
David Ashley, of Florida, called to report hearing incorrect information broadcast Monday morning on local radio in the Ocala/Gainesville area. After a call into WSKY’s morning show about many Florida residents complaining of not being able to vote early due to long lines, a host on the station’s morning show said “that [Florida Gov.] Charlie Crist had decided because of the voter polling crowds to open the polls on Wednesday for Obama supporters to vote,” Ashley said in his hotline call.
When CNN contacted Ashley, she said that the morning hosts on WSKY often use sarcasm during their program. But, Ashley was concerned that the statement sounded factual, and that less informed listeners might not have realized the statement was incorrect about the date for Election Day.
In response to CNN’s inquiry about Ashley’s call, WSKY allowed CNN to listen to a recording of Monday morning’s broadcast. While the host did state that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist had decided to open polls on Wednesday, November 5 to accommodate supporters of Sen. Barack Obama, subsequent remarks by the two hosts make it clear that the statement was intended as a joke. WSKY would not comment any further.
Tuesday, November 4, is the date for voting in this year’s general election, according to information available from the Florida Division of Elections.
If you live in Florida, click here to go to the Web site for the Florida Division of Elections.
(CNN) – Go to work or go to vote? That’s a question voters across the country will be facing Tuesday in the midst of what is expected to be record turnout for voting to determine the next occupant of the White House.
A caller from Georgia reported on CNN’s voter hotline that an employer in Marietta was only giving employees 30 minutes off to vote when state law provided for up to two hours.
CNN contacted the Georgia Secretary of State and was sent the following information about Georgia law:
§ 21-2-404. Affording employees time off to vote
Each employee in this state shall, upon reasonable notice to his or her employer, be permitted by his or her employer to take any necessary time off from his or her employment to vote in any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election for which such employee is qualified and registered to vote on the day on which such primary or election is held; provided, however, that such necessary time off shall not exceed two hours; and provided, further, that, if the hours of work of such employee commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least two hours prior to the closing of the polls, then the time off for voting as provided for in this Code section shall not be available. The employer may specify the hours during which the employee may absent himself or herself as provided in this Code section.
“Basically, if you report to work at 9 a.m. or after or if you do not work after 5 p.m. or earlier, employers are not required to give you time off to vote,” Whitney Halterman, a Communications Specialist for the Georgia Secretary of State, said in an e-mail to CNN.
CNN contacted the employer mentioned in the hotline call and passed along the information about Georgia law. The employer distributed new information about getting time off to its employees.
If you live in Georgia and have questions about voting, click here to go to the Georgia Elections Division Web site or call 404-656-2871.
(CNN) – Virginia State Police have decided not to file charges against the individual who created and circulated a flyer with incorrect information about the date for voting in this week’s presidential election.
“After a thorough investigation into the origins of a fake election flyer that began circulating in the Hampton Roads region last week, the Virginia State Police have determined no criminal activity occurred and no charges will be filed,” a press release issued Monday said.
The flyer incorrectly stated that Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters should vote November 4 and that Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents should vote November 5. The flyer claims that the separate dates for voting by party were enacted by the Virginia legislature to ease the strain on the polls during high turnout that is expected Tuesday.
But that information is incorrect. Polls in Virginia are open Tuesday, November 4 for everyone, regardless of party affiliation or political leanings.
The Virginia State Police said in a statement that they had determined the flyer had not been created in order to deceive voters. “The flyer has been evaluated as an ‘office joke’ and was not intended as a means of a misinformation campaign targeting registered voters,” they said. The department noted, however, that circulating incorrect information to voters is against the law in Virginia.
(CNN) - Virginia State Police may press charges against the person responsible for a bogus flyer in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area that told Democrats to vote on the day after Tuesday's election, according to the state's Board of Elections.
"It was a joke that got out of control on the internet," says Virginia Board of Elections Secretary Nancy Rodriguez.
The state's official logos appear on the flyer, which started circulating on October 24. It said Republicans and Independents leaning Republican should vote on November 4 - Election Day - and Democrats and Independents leaning Democratic to vote the following day.
It says the change in voting times is due to "larger than expected voted turnout" and says an "emergency session of the General Assembly has adopted the following emergency regulations to ease the load on local electorial (sic) precincts and ensure a fair electoral process."
Communicating false information to voters is punishable as a class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia election law.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Enthusiasm at the polls continued on Sunday with waits for early voting in some states stretching to six hours. The CNN Voter Hotline got calls this weekend from voters awed at the turnout and others frustrated by the wait.
In Columbus, Ohio, 27-year-old Dana Zoladz and four friends gave up after realizing there was a six-hour wait to vote at the Franklin County early voting center at the Veterans Memorial. She said would try again on Election Day.
Her father, Dan Zoladz, told the CNN Hotline that, "Six hours is ridiculous in terms of waiting in line."
The county spokesman, Michael Stinziano, said people began lining up as early as 6:30 a.m., even though voting did not begin until 1 p.m.
"I think it is fair to say that we had a four hour line before we opened the doors," Stinzi said in an e-mail.
In Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, lines were stretching "about two blocks," said Mike West, spokesman for the county election board.
West said the atmosphere in line was upbeat. His voting location opened up an hour earlier than scheduled to accommodate the crowds.
Both counties said anyone in line by the 5 p.m. closing time at would get to vote.
To date, the Hotline has gotten close to 25,000 calls including nearly 6,000 seeking their voting location and over 8,100 have called to tell CNN about an issue they had registering or voting. CNN's partner, InfoVoter Technologies has also transferred 16,000 callers to their local board of elections so they can get answers to their problems.
Watch Josh Levs break down the CNN Voter Hotline
(CNN) - CNN's Josh Levs breaks down how you can report voting problems to CNN.