ATLANTA (AP) — More than a dozen states have enacted tougher requirements for registering and voting since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act three years ago.
That has led to confusion and claims that certain groups, mostly minorities who tend to vote with Democrats, are being disenfranchised.
Adding to the uncertainty is a call by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his supporters to monitor the polls on Tuesday for voter fraud and concerns by the federal government that hackers could try to disrupt the voting or vote-counting process.
A breakdown of some of the top voting concerns in key states:
This is the first presidential election in Alabama in which voters will be asked for photo identification. A lawsuit challenging the voter ID law is pending, with trial set for next year. The plaintiffs have argued the law disenfranchises voters who are unable to obtain a state-issued ID. Last year, 31 state driver's license offices — many in poor, minority communities — were closed because of budget concerns. Most were open one day a week and now they are open one to two days a month, with critics complaining the reduced hours remain a barrier.
Long lines led to frustration during Arizona's March primary, when some voters in the Phoenix area waited hours to cast ballots after county election officials opened 60 polling stations — fewer than half what is typical. On Tuesday, Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, plans on having more than 700 sites. Meanwhile, state Democrats filed a lawsuit alleging some Republicans are planning to intimidate voters at the polls. Arizona also was one of two states in which hackers over the summer attempted to breach voter registration systems.
During the 2012 presidential election, Florida had the longest average wait time among all states — 45 minutes, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Some of the most populous counties have since expanded early voting hours in the hopes of reducing long lines on Election Day.
Meanwhile, legal battles continue over voter registration. After Hurricane Matthew raked Florida's eastern coastline, Democrats sued to extend the deadline for voters to register. After a court order, about 107,000 people registered during the extension, but there was a concern that not all those applications would be processed before early voting began. A federal judge declined a request by Democrats to force election officials to allow those affected to vote even if their registration had yet to be verified, saying those affected could cast a provisional ballot that may be counted once their eligibility is confirmed.
The state's process for handling voter registrations and maintaining its voter lists has been the subject of lawsuits this year. One pending lawsuit was filed against Secretary of State Brian Kemp over a policy allowing for people to be removed from state voter rolls for failing to vote in recent elections. Lawyers in the Georgia case said roughly 372,000 voters were purged between 2012 and 2014.