Court Extends Hours at Four Baltimore Polls After Late Openings
The primary election on Tuesday was so troublesome for voters in Baltimore
that a U.S. Senate candidate went to court to make sure polls stayed open long
enough for everyone to get the opportunity to cast a ballot.
Rep. Donna Edwards sought an injunction in Circuit Court to extend by two
hours voting at seven sites in the city. Edwards is a candidate vying against Rep.
Chris Van Hollen to become the Democratic candidate to replace retiring Sen.
Early in the day several polling sites opened late, keeping voters who were
there waiting 20 to 45 minutes, the Board of Elections said.
The court extended voting from the scheduled closing at 8 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
at four sites; John Eager Howard Elementary School, Beth-Ann Synagogue, Oliver
Multi-Purpose Center and Pimlico Elementary School.
“There could be various reasons why the polls opened late. The building
where people are supposed to vote may be locked or things like that,” Armstead
Jones, director of the Baltimore City Board of Elections, said. “Some problems are
people might have gone to the wrong precinct. Some people aren’t registered to
vote and they thought they were.”
“People were outside for so long that they were falling out, and the people
were arguing about spacing in line," according to one Democratic voter, Jewell
Candidates and their campaigns reported some disturbing incidents, too.
Two campaign vehicles of State Sen. Cathy Pugh, a candidate in the
Democratic mayoral primary, were vandalized, allegedly by her own campaign
workers who were angry that they had come to work but were initially turned
away, said Faraji Muhammad, a local activist.
Pugh’s spokesman, Anthony McCarthy, said upon hearing about the
disturbance that Pugh declared anyone who wanted to work would be allowed to,
according to the Baltimore Sun.
Former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who was running against Pugh and 10 others,
was forced to deny reports that she had dropped out of the race after some residents
reported receiving robocalls claiming that she had.
Even the hearing to extend poll hours didn’t go smoothly. A gas leak closed
the courthouse and the procedure, which began on the sidewalk, eventually was
concluded in the garage.