WASHINGTON — Americans went to the polls Tuesday in 34 states with new voting laws that critics fear will adversely affect minority turnout and proponents say are needed to protect against voter fraud.

The new laws – ranging from photo identification requirements to restrictions on same-day registration – brought increased scrutiny Tuesday from the two major political parties, civic groups, voting rights advocates and the Justice Department, almost all deploying monitors and lawyers to polling stations to look out for voting problems.

“It’s the new normal since 2000,” said Richard Hasen, a law and politics professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of “The Voting Wars: From 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown.” “Some of this is legitimate fear, some of it is a way of getting the base wound up and (to) raise funds.”

From the moment polls opened, reports of voting irregularities began. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s election protection program reported more than 18,000 calls to its hotline – the bulk of them from Florida, Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.

Georgia and Texas have strict photo ID laws, meaning those who don’t have proper identification can vote via provisional ballots but must provide sufficient identification within days of casting those ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Florida, voters without ID can cast provisional ballots and their signatures can be verified by election officials with signatures on record.

“Yes, there are people saying they’re not being allowed to vote,” said Barbara Arnwine, the lawyers’ committee’s president and executive director. “Unfortunately it’s coming from a number of states. We say it’s for two reasons: Some of them are states like Texas where, sadly, the voter ID law has been allowed to proceed. … The other thing that we’re seeing is that states just didn’t do their jobs of getting to voters the correct information about voter registration status and polling places.”

In Georgia, the secretary of state reported problems with a website that provides poll locations for voters. The technical glitch further angered civil rights leaders and voting rights advocates who have alleged that 40,000 voter registration applications gathered by the New Georgia Project are missing or unprocessed. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said there are no missing applications.

In Connecticut, incumbent Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s campaign filed a complaint in Hartford Superior Court demanding that voting hours be extended Tuesday because of delays and other problems at Hartford polling sites. Photo ID is requested but not required to vote in Connecticut.

Republicans railed against Malloy’s extension request.

“It’s always the Democrats. It’s always the cities,” state Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola told NBC Connecticut. “This is right out of the Democratic playbook on how to conduct elections.”

In Maryland, True the Vote, a conservative-leaning election watchdog group, said Tuesday that issues with a malfunctioning voting machine in Baltimore County that allegedly switched votes in multiple contests during early voting last month remain unresolved.

The group also reported that Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s name was missing on at least one voting machine in a San Antonio precinct.

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