Poll hours extended after technical glitch causes widespread early-voting problems in Fort Bend County

MISSOURI CITY, Texas – Poll hours have been extended all this week in Fort Bend County after a technical issue caused widespread problems Tuesday for voters who tried to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting.

“After a two-hour delay, I voted,” Glen Green said. “They were saying computer issues all over the county. I called other locations and they were saying they were running through people.”

Green arrived at the Chasewood Community Center in Missouri City at 5 a.m. Tuesday and waited for more than 4 hours to vote.

“The elections board they could’ve had more people out to help them technically so they could resolve problems quickly,” Green said.

Jessica Thomas is pregnant and scheduled to deliver her baby on Wednesday, so she was patient.

“I’m due tomorrow morning, so I was trying to decide if I was going to stay, but I wanted to go ahead and get my vote in and make it count, so I decided to stay,” Thomas said.

She said it was disappointing to see others leave because of the long wait.

“It was just disappointing to see some people left and I’m wondering are those people are gonna make it back in to vote, or they’re not gonna vote this year,” Thomas said.

Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George said he was also disappointed when he noticed the problems while voting at the Smart Financial Centre on Wednesday morning.

“The basic issue was the voting machine was not programmed for today. It’s a glitch,” George said. “But I heard from one voting location that they went in and voted and got an error message. So they had to stay back to get their vote done again.”

Other voters complained that the lines were backed up because there was only one voter at several of the county’s 30 early voting sites checking people in.

George said that while he has very little to do with how elections are run in the county, he wants to investigate what happened so that it can be prevented in the future.

George said in a tweet that starting Wednesday through Saturday, poll closing times have been extended to 7 p.m. at all sites “to ensure safe, fair, and accessible elections in Fort Bend County.” The extension begins Wednesday and runs for the remainder of the week.

Correction:The name of the county that experienced problems has been corrected in the first paragraph.

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