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Computer glitches force US election poll stations to stay open for longer

Mystery surrounds bugs that delayed voting in crunch North Carolina battleground

Polling stations in the swing US state of North Carolina will stay open late after mystery glitches stopped electronic voting systems from working.

The board of elections in the political battleground voted within the past hour or so to allow eight precincts in Durham and Columbus counties to stay open past the previously scheduled closing time for periods ranging from 20 to 60 minutes. Today, Americans went to the polls to pick the next US president as well as vote for their congressional representatives and decide on local referendums.

Earlier in the day, groups watching the elections had filed suit with the board seeking to have the voting window extended, a move that can only be carried out by the state board.

The decision stems from an incident in Durham County where a number of precincts reported that their electronic voting machines had gone down, forcing workers to switch to paper ballots. To make up for the delay, the county petitioned the state board to keep the polls open later.

This, of course, happens with the backdrop of looming fears that foreign hackers would target voting systems, government systems and popular websites in the US in an effort to sway the outcome of the national election or simply cause merry havoc. Nothing, in the end, seems to have gone wrong on a large scale, so far.

Right now, Americans – and pretty much everyone else on the planet – are glued to live data, news feeds, Facebook, Twitter and TV screens to see whether the world's most powerful nation will choose as its new commander-in-chief a career politician with a corner-cutting private email server, or an obnoxious, bullying ham robot with one too many authoritarian programs installed. ®

PS: Watch election night unfold from this handy live stream.

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