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Shifting precincts confuse voters

Many show up at polls to find buildings closed
Posted at 6:48 PM, Jun 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-26 18:48:16-04

You could blame it on early voting.
    
People showed up in modest numbers to cast ballots on this Primary Election Day, and some had trouble finding their precincts.

"When I showed up to vote, there was nobody there,” said Quentin Glenn in West Baltimore, “There was no signage."
    
After a few hours of confusion, Glenn and his mother showed up at James Mosher Elementary to vote---a few blocks away from where they had been instructed to vote at Friendship Preparatory Academy on Whitmore Avenue.

"My son already told me about no one being there, but they gave me a print out as to where I was supposed to go vote, and I said, 'Nobody is voting there.'  So they said, 'Well, that's where you're supposed to vote,'" said Vivian Glenn.
    
City Board of Elections Director Armstead Jones attempted to explain to us what went wrong.

"It was closed and we had no choice, but to move it,” said Jones, “We had moved one of the polling places that was in the old site, and we found that there was a second one that needed to be moved.  We always go and place signs around the building to let voters know that it has been changed."
    
But state Senate hopeful, Delegate Antonio Hayes, says he fears not everyone was as persistent as the Glenn family in tracking down the right polling place.

"Now everyone in that community has already received a sample ballot saying that they go vote at Friendship Academy, and we're expecting close to 400 voters to vote at that poll today," said Hayes.
    
In Baltimore County, confusion also infused itself in the process when voters at Pikesville Middle School found themselves at the wrong precinct on two separate sides of the building---one in the cafeteria and the other in the gymnasium.

"We have two precincts in this building now,” said Precinct Chief Judge Peggy Lea Gosnell, “The precinct on the other end was formerly at the Pikesville Armory, which they closed, and they sent those voters over here, and in the process of changing, they didn't think to send signs saying Precinct 36 and Precinct 35."
    
It could be called a sign of the times, as precincts can become moving targets, leaving only the most determined voters committed to casting their ballots.

"When my kids became of voting age, I made a ritual to let them know just how important it is to vote," said Vivian Glenn.

In the city alone, there are 296 precincts, so you can expect some problems, and it turns out Friendship Academy had been shut down since early January when freezing weather caused plumbing and heating systems to fail.