Civil rights groups and election officials reported thousands of reports of irregularities during the countrywide vote Tuesday, voters protesting for broken machines, long lines, and unskilled poll workers who unnecessarily caused the Americans' voting rights.
The most intense of these complaints came from Georgia, where race, vote and electoral justice issues sparked a fun intergovernmental competition between Democratic Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams, a former political lawmaker, will be the country's first black governor, while Kemp, the foreign minister who oversees the election, has been accused of trying to suppress the vote of minorities.
At a central station in Atlanta, voters waited three hours to vote, as local electoral officials originally sent only three polling machines to serve more than 3,000 registered voters. In the Gwinnett County suburb, the wait exceeded four hours as election officials opened the polls only to find out that their voting machines did not work at all, voters said.
Both locations serve mainly African voters, causing concerns among some voters that certain groups have fled from justice amidst record points for mid-term elections.
"Look at the people here," said Gabe Okoye, chairman of the Gwinnett County Democratic Party, as he watched black voters enter and leave voters. "Look at the demographics of these voters."
"If you're going to play tricks anywhere, you'll do it here," he added, noting the importance of the county's population for the final count of votes.
The wave of voters' complaints came to an end of a campaign period dominated by concerns about access to votes and voting rights. It remains unclear on Tuesday how many of the complaints were lawful, how many voters were affected and whether the problems would affect the outcome of any race.
Some of the concerns arose from a series of restrictive voting laws voted by the Republicans in recent years and affecting dozens of this year's imprisoned races for the US House, the Senate and the governments.
The Republicans have said that tough new rules are needed to combat voter fraud. On Monday, President Trump and Chief Prosecutor Jeff Sessions warned of voter fraud, although the studies did not find evidence of extensive fraud.
Voting rights activists say the laws disproportionately affect young Americans and minorities who tend to vote for Democrats. They accused Trump of trying to intimidate the voters of color.
The increase in reporting on voting rights also coincides with the strongest enthusiasm across the country for participating in this year's races, with early polls in dozens of countries far above 2014 levels.
On Tuesday, election officials in the states, such as Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Indiana and Georgia, extended voting hours to host distant voters in the electorate. In Atlanta, some spaces were kept open until 10am. m. Some states, including North Dakota, also faced with low ballot supplies and voters were still on track Tuesday night.
A coalition of civil rights groups reported that they received more than 29,000 complaints of irregularities during the votes of 8 pm – a higher call volume than any recent poll – and reported many of them to state and local election officials, the groups said at a press conference in Washington.
Together, the agencies used about 6,500 lawyers and monitor in 30 states to protect access to polls – more than any previous election.
"Our goal is to make sure that any eligible American wishing to listen to his voice is able to do this round of elections," said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Human Rights Lawyers' Committee in accordance with the law , one of the groups that joined forces to watch the elections and organize a voter telephone line this year. The coalition includes NAACP, the common cause and Asian Americans who promote justice.
Reports of non-functional machines occurred in many states, such as New York, California and Arizona. Complaints also arise over voting machines that turn voters' choices into Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Texas and Illinois.
Also in Arizona, a judge refused to hold some ballots open to the Maricopa region that opened late. Mr Clarke said voters were "released" in Arizona as a result.
In New York, Corey Johnson, the New York City speaker, said polling stations were hampered by broken scanners in all five municipalities. Voters in ballots stood in rows in the rain – soaking the ballots and complicating even more the process of using electronic scanners.
The supporters of the voting rights reported that some of the problems resulted from equipment that has not been replaced for more than a decade. The machines are dated shortly after the President's re-election in Florida in 2000, when Congress sent billions of dollars to states to replace obsolete equipment. Another round of replacement is delayed, supporters say.
Throughout the country, reports of enormous attendance were undermined by complaints about the barriers faced by voters when they received their ballots.
Voters with limited English proficiency in the Houston area said they were prevented from taking interpreters with them to help them vote, as the voting law says, according to civil rights groups.
Hector De Leon, a spokesman for Harris County, which includes Houston, said he did not know the complaints of non-English speakers about the fact that they could not have interpreters with them.
In North Dakota, a lawyer for voting rights said that dozens of US voters had turned over because of recognition issues. Voting workers rejected the recognition issued by racial officials by advising voters not for initial polls, even though the law requires it, and discouraging voters from obtaining provisional ballots when they arrived without proper identification, according to Carla Fredericks, director of the Indian Law Clinic, University of Colorado at Boulder.
"After I dropped a voter who had been deprived of his right to vote and told him to come back and ask for a vote on set-aside, the electoral worker told me I was interfering and I had to leave," said Fredericks, a member of Mandan, Hidatsa Arikara Nation, located in central North Dakota.
In Porter County, where Democratic senator Joe Donnelly was trying to prevent a strong challenge from Republican Mike Braun, a judge ordered 12 polls to remain open late after the local Democratic Party complained about openings up to three hours behind the schedule.
"It is a fair subject to the voter, without respect for party politics," said Monica Conrad, lawyer for the Democratic Party of Port Dord. The local Republicans have unsuccessfully challenged the order of the Supreme Court judge Roger Bradford, arguing that the Democrats did not provide enough evidence that the polls were opened late, said lawyer Chris Buckley.
The charges of intimidation occurred after the announcement of Tuesday's plans and US Border Protection to conduct a crowd control exercise near a Spanish neighborhood in El Paso, the birthplace of Democratic Representative Beto O'Rourke, who is challenging the Republican Senator Ted Cruz a closely controversial race in Texas.
On Tuesday morning, the organization has dismissed the exercise abruptly as critics have voiced concern over the repression of voters.
The center of the stress of the vote was Georgia, where the bitter governance contest has played as an emotional battle for voting rights.
A group of voting rights, "Protect Democracy," filed a request late Tuesday asking for Kemp to be removed from his office overseeing Georgian elections.
The tensions were placed in the weeks before Election Day after revealing that thousands of voter registration applications, most of which belonged to color or immigrants, were suspended, according to a new state law requiring a precise match between the application and the driver or Social Security records. Separately, hundreds of outstanding votes were questioned by officials, many of whom belonged to the Gwinett County minority.
On Tuesday, voters at a polling station in Gwinett County said they were waiting for more than four hours to vote for ballot papers.
"This was the repression of voters at its best," said Takeya Sneeze, an African truck driver who said he had attended 100 voters to leave a polling station in a primary school without scoring ballots after they discovered that the machines were not working.
Sneeze said he went to Walmart twice to get water and snacks to encourage people to stay in line and wait.
Joe Sorenson, a spokesman for Gwinnett County, said the voting in primary school would be extended for 25 minutes, but that any further extension would require a judge's order.
Sorenson said the county faced problems at five voting points since 156. One had the wrong electrical cables for his equipment and the others had problems with voting machines, but said the officials discovered the problems quickly and began issuing temporary votes.
Brittany Herbert, a 32-year-old lawyer, said she arrived at Pittman Park's amusement park in southwest Atlanta at 8am and found the poll in chaos. When she tried to check in, she told her she was supposed to wait, so she left to go to work and returned around 4:15 pm. At 5:15, he thinks he had another 45 minutes to wait.
"Voting is always very important to me," he said. "I knew at the end of the day I had to. I also knew my family and my friends would shame me if I did not."
A spokesman for the Fulton County constituency acknowledged that a handful of polling stations faced problems Tuesday.
"Today's election is great for this state and there are many enthusiastic voters out there," said spokesman April Majors. "We are happy about this, but unfortunately, enthusiasm is what causes the big lines."
Vanessa Williams in Atlanta, Cleve Wootson in Washington, Sonam Vashi in Snellville, Ga., Bob Moore in El Paso, and Kirk Ross in Chapel Hill, N.C., contributed to this report.