Election Night Roundup: Robocalls and glitches, but otherwise a smooth vote

By Gabe Schneider

Votebeat is a pop-up nonprofit newsroom covering local election administration and voting in eight states, created by Chalkbeat. This is an election night round-up of stories our reporters have written across our network.


The fate of the presidential election remained up in the air Tuesday night as vote-counting in the key states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan continued into Wednesday and beyond. Here’s what Votebeat reporters documented on Election Day, one of potentially many long days to come as millions more votes are still being counted.




Pennsylvania saw polling delays, extended poll hours, and a Republican legal challenge to mail-in ballots. Oh, and an election judge’s car was stolen. Votebeat reporters Margie Albiges and Tom Lisi helped provide comprehensive county-to-county coverage for SpotlightPA, from Butler to Lancaster. 




Michigan officials warned voters on Election Day about robocalls that claimed voting was delayed until Wednesday. In Bridge Michigan, conversations with voters who received the calls and a response from elected officials. 




As of Tuesday morning in Wisconsin, 93 percent of the mail-in ballots that were sent out had been returned. But while covering the action at the polls, Votebeat reporters with Wisconsin Watch talked to nuns passing out candy and blessing voters, to election administrators, and to voters. 




By the middle of the afternoon, a record 1.55 million votes had been cast in Harris County. Mimi Marziani, president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, said there was one big story of the day: “Celebrating the fact that Texas has squarely moved from being a state where so many folks were sitting on the sideline to being a voting state.” But the day wasn’t without problems, with one Texas non-profit reporting at least a dozen polling places closed when they should have been open. Karen Brooks Harper reports for the Texas Tribune. 




In one surprise, poll workers in Shasta County had to move their polling station to accommodate a “Trump train” whizzing through town. Elsewhere, reporters profiled voters and poll workers describing their experiences with the day.  While Californians prepped for the long haul of ballot counting, performers danced in Oakland to celebrate. Votebeat reporters (with a lot of help from UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism) kept a live blog covering both statewide big picture events and what happened on the ground. 




Votes in Atlanta will be counted into Wednesday. Votebeat reporter Christopher Alston helped WABE capture the day in Georgia, where an eighth grader played his cello in a mostly cleared-out parking lot and people handed out snacks to voters. 




In Newark, which has the largest number of registered voters in the state, there were only two drop boxes in the center of the city where voters could drop off mail-in ballots. Colleen O’Dea reports on how Election Day transpired in the state for NJ Spotlight News. 




After several polling places had their hours extended, the final site in North Carolina closed at 8:15 p.m. Few long lines were reported, after most of the state opted to vote by mail, but Votebeat’s Michael Falero and Coleen Harry kept track of the day’s events for WFAE