- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Josephine Price planned to cast her vote in the District’s primary election yesterday, like she’s done for the last 15 years.

She instead found herself bedridden in a Prince George’s County hospital on election day, unable to reach the polls and getting, what she called, little to no assistance from officials and the city’s election board.

Miss Price, 57, a corrections officer from Northeast, checked into Prince George’s Hospital Center on Saturday, and has since been confined to her bed. She said she has contacted voting officials and her Ward 7 council member, Kevin P. Chavous, for information on what she can do, to no avail.

“I came into the hospital Saturday on an emergency basis for something that was beyond my control,” Miss Price said. “I believe in voting, and I feel my vote counts. It gives me a voice. I was so upset yesterday they had to give me an extra shot of morphine to calm me down.”

Mr. Chavous, whose campaign office was closed yesterday, could not be reached for comment.

Officials with the city’s Board of Elections and Ethics said a registered voter may apply for an emergency absentee ballot through an authorized agent at the office of the board, from the sixth day prior to the election to closing of the polls on election day.

Voters are eligible for an emergency absentee ballot if there is an illness or accident that occurs after the deadline for a mail-in absentee vote request. Requests are also granted if the voter is expected to recover from an illness by election day, but is still physically unable to reach a poll after the absentee ballot request deadline has passed.

The board faxed an emergency absentee ballot application to Miss Price at the hospital yesterday afternoon, but officials would not let her submit it without it being turned in by a registered D.C. voter.

“I explained my situation when I called, and they faxed it over,” Miss Price said. “Then they tell me I have to have a D.C. resident turn it in. I’m in Maryland, and I don’t have any relatives here in the city. I’m a tax-paying citizen, and I’ve been a resident of this city for 15 years, and they’re basically telling me I cannot vote. It’s ridiculous.”

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