ATLANTA — Problem signs that arose during weeks of early voting carried into Election Day as some voters across the country faced hours-long lines, malfunctioning voting equipment and unexpectedly closed polling places.
Some of the biggest backups were in Georgia, where the governor's race was among the nation's most-watched midterm contests and was generating heavy turnout.
One voter in Gwinnett County, Ontaria Woods, waited more than three hours and said she saw about two dozen people who had come to vote leave because of the lines.
"We've been trying to tell them to wait, but people have children. People are getting hungry. People are tired," Woods said.
The good government group Common Cause blamed high turnout combined with too few voting machines, ballots and workers.
Fulton County elections director Richard Barron acknowledged that some precincts did have lines of voters but said that was due to the length of the ballots and voting machines taken from use because of an ongoing lawsuit.
While voting went on without hitch in many communities, voters from New York to Arizona faced long lines and malfunctioning equipment.
Across New York City, reports of broken ballot scanners surfaced at several polling places. Turnout was so heavy at one packed precinct on Manhattan's Upper West Side that the line to scan ballots stretched around a junior high school gym. Poll workers there told voters that two of the roughly half-dozen scanners were malfunctioning and repairs were underway.
Voters arriving at two separate polling stations discovered that most scanners had broken down, forcing some people to drop their ballots in "emergency ballot boxes" or vote using an affidavit ballot.
"There are broken scanners everywhere in Brooklyn," Stefan Ringel, spokesman for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, told the AP.
He said Adams and his staff are being flooded with phone calls, emails and text messages reporting breakdowns in more than a dozen neighborhoods.
Compared to the 2016 elections, he said, "anecdotally, it seems worse, and there's confusion among poll workers about what to do."
Many voters nevertheless stuck it out, determined to cast their ballot.
"People are grumpy and frustrated but positive in a weird way, making jokes and talking to one another. I think it's because we all are in the 'no one will stop our vote today' mood,'" said Nikki Euell, an advertising producer who waited more than two hours to vote in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood.
The local breakdowns are a symptom of a larger problem with the nation's voting infrastructure, said Lawrence Norden, a voting technology expert with the Brennan Center.
More than 40 states use computerized voting machines that are more than a decade old or are no longer manufactured.
"It's further evidence, if any was needed, that it's long past time to modernize our voting infrastructure," Norden said. "Voters have a right to be frustrated by long lines. And they have a right to expect voting machines that work and have a paper backup."
Elsewhere, polling place confusion caused problems for voters and poll workers.
In Phoenix, a polling site was foreclosed on overnight. The owners of the property locked the doors, taking election officials by surprise. Voters had been sent to another precinct nearby, but Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes tweeted that the location in Chandler was up and running shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday.
For about an hour after polls opened Tuesday morning, a Sarasota County, Florida, precinct had to tell voters to come back later because their ballots were not available.