Keeping watch on Election Day

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2006

Several organizations are stepping up vigilance at the polls for the Nov. 7 general election because of pervasive problems during the Sept. 12 primary.

The NAACP will send poll watchers to Prince George’s County as well as Baltimore city, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County to observe voting. The civil rights organization expects to refer irregularities or problems the poll watchers spot to the U.S. Department of Justice, which oversees enforcement of voting rights laws.

The Maryland Democratic Party also will send lawyers to polls in Prince George’s County, according to Kenneth Fox, first vice president of the Governor Oden Bowie Democratic Club. Attorneys will ensure that polls open on time at 7 a.m. and that voters have enough provisional ballots available to them in case there are problems with voting machines. These volunteers will document any malfunctions of electronic voting machines as well as other voting irregularities.

The Maryland State Bar Association is calling on its members to act as volunteer election judges for the general election. Attorneys are being asked to volunteer as testers for voting machines to ensure they are functioning properly.