Barack Obama wins re-election

Election observers report scattered problems with e-voting machines

By , IDG News Service |  Government

U.S. President Barack Obama won re-election Tuesday night, topping 270 electoral votes to defeat Republican challenger Mitt Romney just after 11 p.m. ET.

Romney held a small lead in the battleground state of Virginia, but most election observers said he had to win both Florida and Ohio, as well as Virginia, to beat Obama. Just after 11 p.m., Ohio was called for Obama and those electoral votes effectively sealed the election's outcome. Obama also held a slim lead in Florida.

The Republican Party was projected to retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives, according to CNN and other news reports, but it appeared that Democrats will remain a slim majority in the Senate.

Tuesday's election saw scattered reports of problems with electronic-voting machines, but there didn't seem to be widespread issues. In Pennsylvania, a Reddit user took video of an e-voting machine changing his vote from Obama to Romney. That voting machine was temporarily taken off line to be recalibrated.

There were news reports of the opposite effect on e-voting machines in North Carolina. Election Protection, a voting rights group, also reported voting machine problems in South Carolina and Virginia.

There several reports of problems with voting machines, said Pamela Smith, president at the Verified Voting Foundation, an e-voting watchdog group. Virginia had 100 to 200 reports of voting system problems, and Georgia had problems with outdated electronic voter records, she said in an email. There were also reports of voting equipment malfunctions in Wisconsin, a battleground state, she said.

"The most disturbing reports from Ohio were numerous reports from voters who had their ballots cast by poll workers before they were ready," she said. "In some cases, there was a pending error message on the [optical] scanner but the ballots were cast instead of being returned to the voter to correct."

In addition to some e-voting problems, voters in several states, including battleground states of Florida and New Hampshire, encountered long lines at polling places, with some reports of four-hour lines.

In the battleground state of Virginia, CNN reported voters still in line at 8:30 p.m., an hour and a half after the polls were supposed to close.

Expect Obama to push cybersecurity regulations to protect operators of critical infrastructure, including the networks of electric and water utilities. Obama, in 2012, backed legislation that would have created new cybersecurity standards for operators of critical infrastructure.

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