Despite long lines, confusion among poll workers and scattered computer malfunctions, there were no reports of widespread problems Tuesday as voters showed up in record numbers to cast ballots for their preferred presidential candidates.
The turnout appeared to be huge. In California, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, the top elections official, said about 700,000 more Californians were on the voter rolls this month than during the 2004 presidential cycle. Voting officials in New York and Georgia said they also expected turnout to be higher than any primary in the recent past.
Inevitably, with so many voters, problems cropped up. Workers at one polling place in Chicago failed to show up, while wrong ballots were delivered to a site in Chattanooga, Tenn. In Georgia and Arizona, some eligible voters were told they were not listed in the electronic voter registration rolls, while some voters in New Jersey reported being forced to vote provisionally because they were listed with the wrong party affiliation.
One of the more significant problems occurred in Los Angeles County, where independent voters in at least 15 precincts said they were never told they had to mark an extra box on their ballots for them to be counted.
Unaffiliated or "decline to state" voters account for nearly 20 percent of registered voters in California and more than 700,000 voters in Los Angeles County. The Republican Party does not allow them to vote in its primary, but Democrats and some other parties do. The problem seems to have affected only Los Angeles County, whose ballots require the extra bubble to be marked.
In general, however, fears that ID requirements or electronic malfunctions might impede the balloting process did not materialize on a major scale. And problems that did occur seemed to be taken in stride.
About 6 a.m., Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey was scheduled to vote, but poll workers were struggling to get the voting machines ready and he had to wait about half an hour. "If you look across the state, this kind of thing will happen on a random basis in almost any election," said Corzine, who dismissed the problem.
Not everyone was so patient.
"It was a complete disaster," said Scot McKenzie, a 37-year-old sound engineer in Phoenix, who was forced to cast a provisional ballot because the registration rolls said he was at the wrong polling place.