Officials predict long lines on Election Day; Presidential race, slots referendum expected to draw voters.
Gazette, 12 Sep 2008 (Breitenbach).
Maryland voters should plan to wait in line when they head to polls for the Nov. 4 presidential election.
Local election officials say despite an increased number of election judges and efforts to familiarize voters with the ballot, record voter turnout will make waiting unavoidable.
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In Prince George's County, election administrator Alisha Alexander, said the presidential race, coupled with a referendum to bring slot machine gambling to Maryland, could draw more voters to the polls.
Alexander predicts 85 to 90 percent of the county's registered 460,000 voters will show up on Election Day. In 2004, the turnout was 73 percent.
She also said 10 percent more or 46,000 voters could register before the election.
"The lines aren't going to go away on Election Day, but we don't want the lines to intimidate the voters," Alexander said.
To mitigate long lines, the Prince George's County Board of Elections has increased the number of election judges, who oversee polling places, by 5 to 10 percent at each precinct. Greeters will also hand out sample ballots and determine whether voters are at the correct precinct.
"As people are waiting in line they can go through the ballot with the hope that they can quickly know how they're going to vote," Alexander said. "… Because of the high turnout, we want people to be as prepared as possible."
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Prince George's County faces a similar trend.
Alexander said it is unlikely the county will have enough Republican judges. The positions will be filled by unaffiliated judges.
"We have been actually inundated with requests from Democrats who want to serve as election judges and it's to the point now where we're placing Democrats in alternate status," she said.
"… We need about 1,500 to 1,700 Democrats and realistically we would like to have an equal amount of Republicans, but unfortunately, that does not happen in Prince George's County."
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