- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Local elections yesterday were free of the widespread human errors that plagued the September primary in Maryland, though observers and voters reported technological problems and delays at some polling places with heavy turnout.

“There have been glitches here and there, but they’ve been corrected fairly quickly,” Maryland Democratic Party spokesman David Paulson said.

Linda Gaines, the Democratic chief precinct judge at the John Edgar Howard Recreation Center in West Baltimore, said voting machines created no problems, though some voters’ names did not appear on voter rolls.

“Everything else is going smoothly,” she said.

Glitches were reported elsewhere in the state, and long lines formed at several polling locations.

Sharon Conn said she spent more than 90 minutes waiting to vote at Samuel Chase Elementary School in Prince George’s County because of machine malfunctions. She said she and dozens of others were forced to use provisional ballots.

Miss Conn said she waited in line three times to use an electronic voting machine, but each time the screen displayed a message indicating it was deactivated.

Linda Schade, spokeswoman for TrueVoteMd.org, which monitors elections statewide, said the group received more than 100 reports of voting irregularities, mostly in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and in Baltimore.

Miss Schade said the problems included missing power cables and voter access cards for machines, and confusion among precinct judges about the proper procedures.

Meanwhile, Virginia State Board of Elections officials said they referred to the FBI “complaints of several instances of alleged voter intimidation and suppression.”

Board Secretary Jean Jensen said officials forwarded reports of phone calls telling voters to stay home or giving the wrong polling location.

Miss Jensen said voters in Fairfax, Accomack, Colonial Heights, Covington and Hampton counties reported receiving misleading phone calls.

“Voters should not be intimidated or deceived by phone messages purporting to be from election officials,” Miss Jensen said. “Any communication from federal, state or local election officials will always be in written form clearly identifying the official source.”

In Arlington, resident Timothy Daly said he received a phone message Sunday from the so-called “Virginia Elections Commission,” telling him he was registered to vote in New York so he couldn’t vote in Virginia.

“If you do show up, you will be charged criminally,” said the message, the text of which appeared on Mr. Daly’s affidavit to the Board of Elections.

Mr. Daly, who has been registered to vote in Virginia since 1998, also has filed a criminal complaint with local prosecutors.

The source of these reported incidents was not clear.

Jay Myerson, general counsel for the Virginia Democratic Party, blamed Republicans.

“We’ve seen this tactic before,” he said.

Christopher LaCivita, senior consultant for Sen. George Allen’s re-election campaign, said neither the Republican Party nor the Allen campaign was responsible.

Turnout in Virginia was heavy, with as many as 65 percent of registered voters projected to cast ballots. That would double the midterm turnout in 2002, officials said.

• Christina Bellantoni and S.A. Miller contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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