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High Turnout = More Voting Machines

Maryland elections chief Linda Lamone today predicted a voter turnout of at least 85 percent on Election Day --and 90 percent in some areas. Final registration numbers won't be available until tomorrow morning, but the number of new voters surged in Prince George's County and the city of Baltimore before last week's deadline, Lamone said.

Anticipating the crush, the state Board of Elections ordered extra voting machines and electronic poll books for both jurisdictions on top of the equipment that's been added statewide this fall: Prince George's officials received 100 new machines and 200 pollbooks this week.

Two changes since the 2006 general election will affect absentee and provisional voting this year, both resulting from a court decision invalidating Maryland's early voting laws. In the case of provisional voting --when someone's name does not appear on the precinct register or the voter moved and did not update his registration--a voter will not be able to cast a provisional ballot outside the election district where he lives. In most counties, election districts include multiple voting precincts.

For voters hoping to cast absentee ballots, the deadline to request one by mail or fax is Oct. 28. Voters must affirm on the oath they return with their voted ballot that they will be absent and unable to vote in person on Nov. 4. In recent years, Marylanders had broader latitude to vote absentee and were not required to state under oath that they would not be able to vote in person. This was called a no-excuse law that passed the General Assembly in 2006--but was invalidated by the court decision on early voting.
Early voting is actually back in the picture. It will be put to voters on the Nov. 4 ballot.


By Lisa Rein  |  October 22, 2008; 12:21 PM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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Comments

More machines, more provisional ballots and more poll workers are needed to make this election run smoothly.

ALSO, voters should be prepared. Read the ballot questions before hand, not for the first time when you reach the voting machine.

Posted by: PG'er | October 22, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

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