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Baltimore NAACP wins suit to give voters extra hour to vote

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday September 12, 2006

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Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Marcella Holland issued a temporary injunction ordering the Baltimore City Board of Election to operate the polls one hour past the normal closing time of 8 p.m, after the NAACP Baltimore Branch and private plaintiffs this afternoon filed a lawsuit to keep city polling sites open until 9PM, according to a NAACP press release received by RAW STORY.

"According to the lawsuit, in citing one example of problems at the polls, a voter said he was unable to vote at 7:05 a.m. because there was an insufficient number of polling judges on duty," the press release states. "The voter said he was unable to return to vote before the scheduled closing at 8 p.m. because of his job."

"It's incredible that the Board of Election was not better prepared given they knew this election was coming months ago. It's very frustrating that voters' fundamental constitutional rights would be treated so cavalierly," said NAACP Dennis Courtland Hayes in the press release.

Voting was expanded by an hour in Montgomery County, Maryland, as well, after similiar problems were reported.

"Montgomery election officials had failed to distribute to precincts the electronic cards needed to operate computerized voting machines," reported the Washington Post. "Election officials scrambled to deliver the cards by late morning, but many voters were told they had to return later or vote on paper ballots that will not be counted until Monday."

Two other counties in Maryland experienced problems during today's voting.

"Polling officials in Prince George's also reported problems at precincts because staff had quit or failed to show up on time," reported the Washington Post. "Howard County officials said new electronic polling books froze up occasionally, causing delays."

"At [Washington D.C.'s] Precinct 125 -- Ward 8's heaviest voting precinct -- the election captain was late and workers were inexperienced, News4's James Adams reported," News4 reported. "Poll workers said about 80 voters were turned away there."