Politics

Officials adjust hours in Galveston County to accommodate voters later

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A judge ordered polling locations in Galveston County to stay open almost two hours later than normal following a widespread voting snafu.

Many locations opened two hours late. Officials say the problem had to do in part with some elections workers not starting computer systems on time. Apparently each machine must complete a printing cycle of ballots before they can be used by voters. That led to some mammoth lines.

We talked to a number of people casting ballots just before closing Tuesday night during the extended hours who said they would not have been able to vote otherwise.

Voter Tami Sillivent said, "I'm a nanny. I have two kids. I didn't want to bring them in line for me to vote."

"I work until 6," said voter Ashley Gill. "I'm a working mom. I also go to school. I wasn't able to do the early voting, so it was very important that they stay open till 9."

The chair of the Galveston Democratic Party expressed concern that some voters might not find out about the extended hours and realize they could return to cast their ballots after leaving in frustration.

Elections administrators say all ballots cast after 7pm by law are considered provisional, meaning they will be separated into a special pile and counted separately, in case the delayed closure of polls is ever challenged. We're told that could mean the final numbers in some Galveston County races might not be known for days.

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election day, galveston, politics, kevin quinn
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