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Head elections official vows Prince George's County will never run out of ballots again

Head elections official vows Prince George's County will never run out of ballots again (ABC7)

The top election official in Prince George’s County is vowing there will never be a repeat of what happened Tuesday night when about a dozen precincts either ran out or almost ran out of ballots.

The worst situation happened in the southern part of the county at Brandywine Elementary School, where some voters told ABC7 News it took more than three and a half hours to vote.

On Tuesday night, many were still voting at the precinct long after the governor’s race they were voting on had been called for Republican Larry Hogan.

ABC7 also talked with voters in Bowie at High Bridge Elementary, which was another precinct that ran out of ballots. Voters said they had to wait as long as about an hour and a half at that location.

“This will never happen again in Prince George’s County,” County Elections Administrator Alisha Alexander told ABC7 on Wednesday.

Alexander says she knew turnout was likely to be much higher than a similar non-presidential election four years ago, but would still fall short of a presidential election. So she says she sent precincts about 70 percent of the number of ballots they’d received in 2016.

But at some of the precincts, that was not enough, and calls began coming in Tuesday asking for the board of elections to send out more ballots.

But Alexander says sending out those ballots from the county’s elections office in Largo proved to be a time-consuming process.

“Unfortunately, we began getting the majority of our calls late in the day,” she said. “And when that occurred, we were in the middle of inclement weather and rush hour traffic.”

As a result, some voters had to wait in lines that weren’t moving at all until the ballots arrived. Several hundred reportedly were in line in Brandywine when the ballots finally arrived.

Alexander says she will meet with the board of elections to come up with a plan that avoids a repeat. She says she may just send out a ballot for every possible voter in the future.

“I just want to use, at this point, a hundred percent allocation just to make sure that this never happens again,” she said.

Alexander says turnout jumped from around 38 percent in 2014 to around 58 percent this year.

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