Invisible ink, tornadoes, long lines cause trouble

.(AP) – Scattered voting problems, including machine glitches and long lines, emerged in some states on the biggest Super Tuesday ever held. But overall, voting appeared to go smoothly.

In the blue-collar Connecticut town of Manchester, just south of Hartford, turnout surged to nearly 70 percent, forcing election officials to photocopy 3,000 ballots. There were long lines in Minnesota, Georgia, Tennessee and Kansas. In Johnson County, the largest in Kansas, Democratic caucuses reported delays due to long lines and the relocation of one caucus because of overwhelming turnout.

Precincts in eastern Tennessee stayed open late so throngs of voters in line at closing time could cast ballots. Across the state, however, at least four counties had to close polls early because of tornadoes. “We don’t like to see this happen, but we’ve got to do what we have to do to protect our poll workers,” said state Election Coordinator Brook Thompson.

Some votes were apparently lost when about 20 folks at a Chicago precinct were given styluses designed for touch-screen machines instead of ink pens. When voters complained the devices made no marks on their paper ballots, a ballot judge told them the markers were full of invisible ink.

“After 20 people experienced the same problem, somebody said ‘Wait, we’ve got 20 ballots where nobody’s voted for anything,’ ” said Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen. Officials were trying to contact the voters; Allen said both the voters and the judge believed the invisible ink theory.

Another oddity occurred in Florida, where voters excited by Super Tuesday tried to cast ballots. Election officials reported fielding hundreds of calls from confused people who apparently forgot – or were unaware – that Florida’s primary was held last week.

As much as 25 percent of the overall vote may go uncounted Tuesday night, officials said.