Baltimore County officials want answers about long voting lines

Posted at 6:31 PM, Nov 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-10 11:24:18-05

There were steady streams of people heading to the polls Tuesday.  But in Baltimore County, the turnout led to long lines.

"I'm guessing I’ve been around here for two hours starting outside," said voter Henry Ciezkowski.

"They're telling me it's an hour wait from the door, and I haven’t made it to the door yet," voter David Canty said.

County Councilman David Marks said it's unacceptable.

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"We really have to look into why that occurred so we can correct it for the next election," he said.            

Maryland switched back to a paper ballot system this year, and every ballot needs to be fed through the scanner by the voter.

Statewide, fewer than 10 scanners out of 2,200 malfunctioned Tuesday, but for some reason, most precincts in the county only had one machine.

"Most places only allocate one,” Baltimore County Board of Elections Director Katie Brown said.  “That's how our allocation goes, anything 4,000 voters or less gets one scanner."

Anyone who was in line by 8 p.m. got to cast a ballot, but the hours-long wait was frustrating for many folks.

"I don't understand why the state of Maryland, knowing they wanted everyone to come out and vote, and weren't prepared for the turnout," voter Philip Sudano said.

ABC2 News reached out to the State Board of Elections, and State Administrator Linda Lamone said in part, "We started collecting data that will help us identify where the lines were, how long they were, and identify potential reasons for the lines."

That inquiry will be on the back burner until all of the votes in this election have been counted and certified, but the Board says they will develop recommendations for future elections.

That's something local officials agree is needed.

"I'm in the Ways and Means Committee, and this is what we deal with is voting, we're definitely going to be talking about this," Del. Bob Long said.

"Yesterday was very heartening, it's terrific to see people engaged in democracy, at the same time, government needs to make sure that voting is convenient as possible for people and we have a lot of work to do between now and 2018,” Marks said.

ABC2 News also reached out to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

His office said Kamenetz is very concerned about the issues at the polls, and he plans to reach out to the state and county officials in charge of the election to get to the bottom.

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