CHICAGO (CBS) — Long lines of voters formed at 50 polling sites that opened in Chicago Wednesday, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. On site election officials at two locations on the South Side said the problems were out of their hands as small problems led to what some early voters described as a big mess.
“Machines are still not operating, and I think the frustrations are that we’re not seeing change,” said voter Marion Baker, as she waited at Deneen Elementary all morning.
From the outside frustrated people peered through windows trying to see what was wrong. Election officials blamed paper jam issues. They shut down at least three of eight machines as CBS 2 crews filmed.
“They only had one booth for handicap, so it maybe should have been a little more,” said one voter.
Judges made quick fixes on the fly, but the issue kept happening.
“I consider these minor problems. Functional problems that we’ll have to work on,” said 6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer.
As frustrations grew, community leaders tried to mitigate them.
“I consider this good frustration that we had so many people to come out to vote today,” said Sawyer
But some voters’ patience wore thin as the waits continued. The bathrooms were closed. Some people even brought food, but many were starving for answers.
“They haven’t sent anyone out to the site yet. There just doesn’t appear to be any leadership here,” said Baker.
Further on the South Side at Curtis Elementary in Roseland, election officials said their ballot scanner went down Wednesday morning. There were also long lines there, but they said technical teams quickly came and fixed the problem.
“We need leadership, we need action, and we need resolution,” said Baker.
It was a first day of voting many didn’t want during a contentious election that is bound to bring out even bigger crowds.
The Chicago Board of Elections said it also dealt with touch screen issues, but all polling places are up and running smoothly.