SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — There were problems at the polls Thursday before they even opened.
Voters and election officials told WREG they began running into problems early in the day, with some people not even being able to cast their ballots.
Election officials say the length of the ballot is to blame for the length of the lines at the polls.
Robert Myers with the Election Commission explained, “This is the phenomenon of this eight-year ballot, where we have all the judicial candidates on there. So that’s part of the phenomenon we have going on and the most likely contributor to why we have the long lines.”
However, wait times were far from the only problems at the precincts.
“When the polls opened… some locations, the machines were not working,” Madeleine Taylor with the NAACP said. “We got calls about those.”
One polling location did not even open on time.
“The person with the key to let us in failed to arrive on time,” Myers admitted.
He added that some locations that did open on time still were not ready.
“We had a couple of locations that, while they were opened up on time, were still processing the voting machines and running their zero tapes.”
Federal oversight is being provided to make sure things go smoothly. It is an extra set of eyes Myers said he is grateful to have.
“I’m happy to have the federal monitors. The whole system is set up with lots of various levels of oversight.”
The polls are open until 7 Thursday night. If you are in line by 7 p.m. they will stay open until you have been able to cast your ballot.