Vote counting begins in Congo, after polling beset by delays

Vote counting begins in Congo, after polling beset by delays
Electoral commission officials tally the presidential ballots in Kinshasa, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Forty million voters were registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo's election officials began counting ballots Sunday evening, although many polling stations stayed open into the night to make up for lengthy delays in voting.

Numerous problems hampered voting across the country, marring the presidential election the country hoped would be its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960.

Election observers reported multiple difficulties around the vast Central African nation, which is choosing a successor to President Joseph Kabila after his 17 years in power. The election had been delayed since late 2016, prompting the opposition to charge that Kabila was trying to stay on past his mandate.

While many polls closed in the evening, others stayed open to allow those waiting in line to cast their ballots and at least one polling station was just getting ready to open.

The voting center at Les Anges school in Kinshasa had not opened during the day because it did not have battery cables to power the voting machines and the center did not have a voters' roll. At midday frustrated voters looted the polling station, ripping up ballot papers and burning some voting machines. Police restored order with no casualties.

Election officials tape the voter's registrations list to the wall of the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo, as voters start to check their names, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Election officials tape the voter's registrations list to the wall of the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo, as voters start to check their names, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Hundreds of Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, storm the polling stations after the voters listings were finally posted five hours after the official start of voting. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Hundreds of Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, storm the polling stations after the voters listings were finally posted five hours after the official start of voting. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Electoral commission officials tally the presidential ballots in Kinshasa, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Forty million voters were registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Electoral commission officials tally the presidential ballots in Kinshasa, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Forty million voters were registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congo voters barred over Ebola outbreak vote anyway, by the thousands, in makeshift election.
Congo voters barred over Ebola outbreak vote anyway, by the thousands, in makeshift election. (Source: Francois Duckett)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, heckle Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI) as he arrives to deliver the voters listings. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, heckle Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI) as he arrives to deliver the voters listings. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Opposition presidential candidate Felix Tshisekedi casts his ballot in Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumours of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Opposition presidential candidate Felix Tshisekedi casts his ballot in Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumours of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wait to vote in Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wait to vote in Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters line up to vote in Kinshasa, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters line up to vote in Kinshasa, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wait at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, for voter's listings that have not arrived. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wait at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, for voter's listings that have not arrived. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila, center, arrives to cast his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila, center, arrives to cast his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters line up to vote in Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters line up to vote in Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wait at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, for voter's listings that have not arrived. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wait at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, for voter's listings that have not arrived. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wait at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, for voter's listings that have not arrived. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wait at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, for voter's listings that have not arrived. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wait at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, for voter's listings that have not arrived. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wait at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, for voter's listings that have not arrived. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Ruling party presidential candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary casts his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Ruling party presidential candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary casts his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Ruling party presidential candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary casts his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Ruling party presidential candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary casts his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese election officials get the voting machine ready before voting starts Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese election officials get the voting machine ready before voting starts Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters line up to vote in Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters line up to vote in Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, heckle Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI) as he arrives to deliver the voters listings. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, heckle Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI) as he arrives to deliver the voters listings. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, heckle Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI) as he arrives to deliver the voters listings. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, heckle Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI) as he arrives to deliver the voters listings. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, heckle Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI) as he arrives to deliver the voters listings. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, heckle Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI) as he arrives to deliver the voters listings. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Hundreds of Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, storm the polling stations after the voters listings were finally posted five hours after the official start of voting. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay
Hundreds of Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, storm the polling stations after the voters listings were finally posted five hours after the official start of voting. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, heckle Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI) as he arrives to deliver the voters listings. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, heckle Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI) as he arrives to deliver the voters listings. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, vote had not started as the lists were not available. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wake past police as they reach the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018 to cast their ballot. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters wake past police as they reach the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018 to cast their ballot. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters walk past police as they reach the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018 to cast their ballot. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters walk past police as they reach the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018 to cast their ballot. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, conduct a mock ballot outside the polling station. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, the vote had not started as the lists were not available. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumours of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, conduct a mock ballot outside the polling station. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, the vote had not started as the lists were not available. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumours of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, line up to vote after the voters listings were finally posted five hours after the official start of voting. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, line up to vote after the voters listings were finally posted five hours after the official start of voting. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Election observers sit in a polling stating as voters cast their vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Election observers sit in a polling stating as voters cast their vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Ruling party presidential candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary casts his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Ruling party presidential candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary casts his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila casts his vote for Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila casts his vote for Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila casts his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila casts his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila gets his finger inked after casting his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila gets his finger inked after casting his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila, center, leaves the polling station after casting his vote Sunday Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila, center, leaves the polling station after casting his vote Sunday Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila, center, leaves the polling station after casting his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese President Joseph Kabila, center, leaves the polling station after casting his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese opposition presidential candidate Martin Fayulu, center, arrives to cast his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese opposition presidential candidate Martin Fayulu, center, arrives to cast his vote Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 in Kinshasa, Congo. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, line up to vote after the voters listings were finally posted five hours after the official start of voting. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, line up to vote after the voters listings were finally posted five hours after the official start of voting. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, conduct a mock ballot outside the polling station. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, the vote had not started as the lists were not available. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumours of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters who have been waiting at the St. Raphael school in the Limete district of Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, conduct a mock ballot outside the polling station. People had started to gather at 6am to cast their votes, and four hours later, the vote had not started as the lists were not available. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumours of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese participate in a mock voting in the Eastern Congolese town of Beni Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The delay of Sunday's election until March for Beni and Butembo city is blamed on a deadly Ebola outbreak. The rest of the country will vote on Sunday Dec. 30. (AP Photo/Al-hadji Kudra Maliro)
Congolese participate in a mock voting in the Eastern Congolese town of Beni Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The delay of Sunday's election until March for Beni and Butembo city is blamed on a deadly Ebola outbreak. The rest of the country will vote on Sunday Dec. 30. (AP Photo/Al-hadji Kudra Maliro) (Source: Al-hadji Kudra Maliro)
Congolese participate in a mock voting in the Eastern Congolese town of Beni Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The delay of Sunday's election until March for Beni and Butembo city is blamed on a deadly Ebola outbreak, but the rest of the country will vote today. (AP Photo/Al-hadji Kudra Maliro)
Congolese participate in a mock voting in the Eastern Congolese town of Beni Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The delay of Sunday's election until March for Beni and Butembo city is blamed on a deadly Ebola outbreak, but the rest of the country will vote today. (AP Photo/Al-hadji Kudra Maliro) (Source: Al-hadji Kudra Maliro)
Opposition presidential candidate Felix Tshisekedi casts his ballot in Kinshasa, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. oSome frty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumours of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Opposition presidential candidate Felix Tshisekedi casts his ballot in Kinshasa, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. oSome frty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumours of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters check the voters registration listings before voting in Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Congolese voters check the voters registration listings before voting in Kinshasa Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. Some forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Election officials tape the voter's registrations list to the wall of the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo, as voters start to check their names, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Election officials tape the voter's registrations list to the wall of the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo, as voters start to check their names, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Election officials tape the voter's registrations list to the wall of the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo, as voters start to check their names, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Election officials tape the voter's registrations list to the wall of the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo, as voters start to check their names, Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
A burned ballot is seen in the mud at the entrance of the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo,Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
A burned ballot is seen in the mud at the entrance of the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo,Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Police stand on burned ballot in the mud at the entrance of the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo,Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Police stand on burned ballot in the mud at the entrance of the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo,Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Election officials check the voter's registrations lists just brought in at the Les Anges primary school, just before the vote is scheduled to close, in Kinshasa, Congo. Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Election officials check the voter's registrations lists just brought in at the Les Anges primary school, just before the vote is scheduled to close, in Kinshasa, Congo. Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Election volunteers who have been waiting over 12 hours to start the election process pose for a photograph at the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo. Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Election volunteers who have been waiting over 12 hours to start the election process pose for a photograph at the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo. Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Election volunteers who have been waiting over 12 hours to start the election process pose for a photograph at the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo. Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Election volunteers who have been waiting over 12 hours to start the election process pose for a photograph at the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo. Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Police officers secure the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo. Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Police officers secure the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo. Sunday Dec. 30, 2018. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)
Election volunteers who have been waiting over 12 hours to start the election process at the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo. Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, wait for the voting station to open. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Election volunteers who have been waiting over 12 hours to start the election process at the Les Anges primary school in Kinshasa, Congo. Sunday Dec. 30, 2018, wait for the voting station to open. The voting process was delayed when angry voters burned six voting machines and ballots mid-day, angered by the fact that the registrations lists had not arrived. Replacement machines had to be brought in, and voting started at nightfall, 12 hours late. Forty million voters are registered for a presidential race plagued by years of delay and persistent rumors of lack of preparation. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (Source: Jerome Delay)

The Les Anges station finally got what it needed and opened for voting after official closing time. Election officials said they would stay open until everyone in line had voted. As night fell an electricity generator was set up to help people vote in darkness.

Other polling stations had closed and the counting of ballots had begun. Official results are to be announced by Jan. 15, although preliminary returns are expected earlier than that.

Among some 21 candidates, top opposition leaders Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi are challenging Kabila's preferred successor, former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who is under European Union sanctions for a crackdown on people protesting delays to the election.

Tshisekedi, after casting his ballot, said some polling stations in Kinshasa, the capital, had not even opened six hours after voting began. He accused Congo's government of deliberately creating an election day mess to spark a court challenge that could allow Kabila to extend his time in power.

"I deplore all the disorder," Tshisekedi said, calling Kabila's government "responsible for this mess."

The voting machines that Congo was using for the first time posed a special problem. The opposition has warned that the machines could be used to manipulate the vote. Many of the country's 40 million voters have never used a computer, and electricity is limited.

The Catholic Church's election observer mission said it had received 544 reports of malfunctioning voting machines. It also reported 115 cases of election observers being kicked out of polling centers or not being allowed access, as well as 44 cases of vote-buying or corruption.

In Kinshasa, an opposition stronghold, many voters reported trouble finding their names on the voting lists. Nearly 50 Kinshasa polling stations were idle for hours because lists of registered voters had not been delivered, electoral commission chief Corneille Nangaa told The Associated Press.

Nangaa brought some lists to polling stations himself, amid angry shouts of "We wanted to vote!" from people waiting in long lines. Dozens of young men decided to practice voting, piling ballots in a basket. Others, discouraged, walked away. Once lists were delivered, crowds rushed to vote.

Another observer group, Symotel, reported a multitude of problems including the movement of polling stations to new locations at the last minute. Confused voters didn't know where to go.

"We knew there would be issues, but this is way beyond what we expected," spokesman Luc Lutala said.

At stake is a country rich in minerals including those crucial to the world's smartphones and electric cars, and yet Congo remains desperately underdeveloped with widespread corruption and insecurity.

Election unrest had been feared after a last-minute decision to bar an estimated 1 million people from voting because of a deadly Ebola virus outbreak in the east. The decision was widely criticized as threatening the credibility of the election and putting health workers in danger as people protest.

Voting in the Ebola-affected cities of Beni and Butembo was delayed until March, long after Congo's new leader will be inaugurated in January.

On Sunday, well over 10,000 people lined up in Beni to stage their own election , vowing to deliver the results to the electoral commission. People cast paper ballots and sang in Swahili, "Voting is our right and nobody can stop us."

They washed their hands before voting as a protection against Ebola, which is spread via infected bodily fluids. "We do not have Ebola. Kabila is worse than Ebola," said Jacob Salamu, 24, who said he was voting for the first time.

Election day in the capital began with a heavy rainstorm that flooded some streets. Kabila and Shadary voted together.

Shadary called for "peace and calm," adding that "I am very confident in victory."

Fayulu, considered the leading candidate, later voted at the same polling station.

"Today we are writing the end of Kabila, the end of misery for Congolese people," he said. "Congo will stop being the laughingstock of the world."

An untold number of Congolese remained in line at poll-closing time, and by law would be able to vote. Although electoral officials had estimated that people could vote in under a minute, the process was taking several minutes or more per person.

Amid the delays and confusion, frustration grew. "We came to vote and there is nothing," said voter Elvis Bolungu. "May Kabila go to hell."

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Associated Press writer Al-Hadji Kudra Maliro contributed from Beni.

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