Primary Day Blog: Early-Morning Victory

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCWashington.com

    Polls opened in the District and Maryland at 7 a.m. Tuesday and closed at 8 p.m., despite an effort to extend voting in a few locations in D.C.  Keep track of the evening's election news by continually refreshing this page.  View election results as they come in by clicking here.  For the main story recapping the D.C. election, click here.

    1:50 a.m.: As Vincent Gray took the stage to celebrate his apparent win over Mayor Adrian Fenty, the Associated Press called the race in his favor.

    "Tonight the people of the District sent a message loud and clear," Gray told his supporters. "That they want to bring character, integrity and leadership back to the mayor's office. It's time that we come together as one city."

    Gray: "It's Time That We Come Together as One City"

    [DC] Gray: "It's Time That We Come Together as One City"
    Vincent Gray speaks of uniting D.C. in his Democratic primary victory speech.

    Gray congratulated Fenty "for running a hard and spirited campaign."

    "Despite our differences, I know he shares the same commitment to the city," Gray said of his rival.

    Glass Shatters at Fenty HQ on Primary Night

    [DC] Glass Shatters at Fenty HQ on Primary Night
    A man falls through a pane of glass at Mayor Adrian Fenty's HQ on primary night.

    "Now it's time to look forward and unite our great city so that every resident has a voice and role in tackling the challenges ahead," Gray said.

    Gray's speech was interrupted at least once with a chorus of "Hey, hey, hey, goodbye..."

    Gray summed up the campaign as such:

    "We were out-raised, we were outspent, we were outnumbered, but we were not outworked," Gray said.

    1:40 a.m.:  Latest numbers from D.C. Board of Elections: With 89 percent of precincts reporting: Vincent Gray has 59,285 votes (53.18%) to Adrian Fenty's 50,850 (45.62 percent).  Even though Fenty doesn't concede, Washington Post calls it for Gray.

    1:20 a.m.: Mayor Adrian Fenty addressed his supporters at his headquarters at about 1:15 a.m., and he did not concede to rival Vincent Gray.

    "It looks like we've got a fight on our hands," Fenty told the cheering crowd.

    "Even though we don't know the tally of the votes, whatever they're saying about 17 percent, that number doesn't mean anything."

    He thanked the crowd for their hard work on the campaign and then told them they "may not have anything definitive until the morning."

    He then led the crowd into a cheer of "On to victory! On to victory!"

    12:45 a.m.: And they're doing the Electric Slide on the dance floor at Gray HQ...

    12:40: a.m.: Watch raw video of the glass-shattering incident.

    12:15 a.m.: The sounds of shattering glass startled people at Fenty's HQ as a man fell and crashed through a large plate-glass window. Paramedics rushed to help the man, who appeared to be bleeding from the head, but was conscious and was seen walking afterward.  Here's a picture of the incident from Twitter. NBC4's Craig Melvin also snapped this shot afterward.  Video coming soon.

    11:42 p.m.: From DC BOE with 17,000 votes in: Gray 9,485 (56%) to Fenty 7,202 (42.5%).

    11:40 p.m.: NBC4's Craig Melvin reports in:  Crowd at Fenty headquarters has thinned out considerably over the past 10 minutes...

    11:25 p.m.: From BOE latest of over 12,000 votes in: Gray 8,427 (69%) to Fenty 3,558 (29%).  At Gray HQ, Prince is playing (not live).  The crowd us full of energy. Everyone is dancing along ... just waiting to get word on whether their candidate has the win.

    11:05 p.m.:  Early numbers from the Board of Elections gave Fenty an early advantage (Fenty 1,841 (58%) to Gray 1,286 (40.6%)), but new numbers just came in sway the election in Gray's favor:  With 7,000 votes in: Gray 4,145 (59%) to Fenty 2,721 (39%).

    10:15 p.m.:  Here's an odd one.  Go to Google and do a search for "dc mayor."  Go ahead, we'll wait.  ...  See anything odd?  The first result on the page shows what appears to be a link to a USA Today story titled "DC mayor dumped by Democrats" with a summary that says that Fenty "lost his re-election ..." 

    Bizarre, considering that no results are in yet.  If you click on the link, it goes to a USA Today politics blog, but has no mention of Fenty's "loss."  Here's a screenshot if it disappears anytime soon.

    9:55 p.m.:  A Fenty spokesman tells NBC4's Craig Melvin the Board of Elections told them it will be 11:30 p.m. or midnight before they have something definitive. Also, he said the mayor is en route to the gathering. He's also "surprised" by the size of the early margin in Ward 3.

    Meanwhile, with no official results coming in for D.C., attention turns to the dance floor at Gray headquarters.  Atmosphere is changing a bit. Music has switched to some club-like beats. People are very upbeat, high energy. The room is getting really crowded.

    9:30 p.m.: At the Fenty party, they're grilling up hot dog and burgers while listening to some music.  According to NBC4's Craig Melvin, they've laid down some pro-Fenty lyrics on some classics. Later tonight, he may ask the mayor what his campaign was thinking...  Apparently not Melvin-approved.

    9:10 p.m.:  From Gray HQ: The ballroom at the Washington Court Hotel is starting to heat up. Partygoers are enjoying a buffet of Mexican cuisine and cheesecake amid some chatter of whether Gray will pull off this victory. There's a lot of talk about voter turnout. Music selection so far: James Brown, the Beatles and Barry White.

    8:45 p.m.: At Fenty headquarters, the "Green Team" has set up their folding chairs. About a dozen green and white shirts are sitting and looking at an empty podium. Other supporters are outside on the sidewalk jamming and eating. Mood is upbeat.

    8:14 p.m.: The air-conditioning appears to be out at Fenty headquarters. Not for nothing are Fenty supporters sweating.

    8:00 p.m.: And that's a wrap on voting. Keep pulling that refresh lever for election updates as results come in. NBC4 is collecting all the results here.

    7:54 p.m.: DC Superior Court Judge Joan Zeldon ruled that polls will not be extended. The election will be over shortly.

    7:38 p.m.: How does Fenty feel? "We're optimistic," a Fenty spokesman told NBC4. His supporters are still on the streets outside Fenty headquarters on Geroge Avenue, where drivers are honking their horns as they drive by.

    The Fenty campaign believes light turnout benefits the incumbent Mayor more than challenger Vincent Gray. As NBC4's Tom Sherwood said earlier, though, the turnout might merely appear light compared to expectations.

    7:18 p.m.: Lawyers for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics as well as lawyers for the Fenty and Gray campaigns are in the courtroom now. D.C. Superior Court emergency justice Judge Joan Zeldon is presiding.

    At the hearing, Jay McGhie of D.C. BOEE said that Garnett-Patterson opened 15 minutes late. He also said that Souza Middle School did not have electronic voting for 30 minutes but continued with paper ballots -- so the poll was open, technically.

    Marc Elias, representing Fenty for Mayor, said that the polls should not be kept open for two more hours because it would "allow the Gray campaign to violate the equal protection that should be available to the Fenty campaign."

    Speaking for Gray for Mayor, Andrew Sandler said that he will produce a witness to testy to widespread problems with voting equipment and election administration. That witness is in the courtroom.

    6:18 p.m.: If the incumbent does the improbable and pulls out the win, then the pundits who called a Gray victory inevitable will need reasons to explain his come-from-behind win. This could be one: Education wonk Sara Mead notes that parents with children in the D.C. Public Schools system prefer Fenty to Gray 62 to 36.

    Mead pulled the numbers from the Washington City Paper poll. Another way to read them: If Gray wins, it's not on an angry tide of DCPS parents.

    5:42 p.m.: D.C. mayoral candidate Vincent Gray made an official request to the D.C. Board of Elections to extend voting hours until 10 p.m. becaue reports of voting irregularities at polling places.

    "The reports we have received of voting irregularities have been extremely disheartening and we are doing everything we can to see that District voters have their ballots counted and voices heard," Gray said. "The Board of Elections has told us that irregularities are being handled, but we strongly believe that extending poll hours is the only appropriate action to ensure that residents who wanted to participate in the democratic process are allowed to do so."

    Gray's campaign said it has still been receiving calls about problems even after the Board of Elections said the irregularities have been addressed.

    A Board of Elections's attorney wants to know which precincts Gray's campaign feels were affected, a board spokeswoman said.

    4:37 p.m.: Gray is pushing to extend voting hours at the polls until 10 p.m.

    4:03 p.m.: As primary day hums along, some observers are saying that the turnout is light. Both the Washington Post's Mike DeBonis and WTOP's Mark Segraves are reporting that voter turnout is light this year. Political consultant Chuck Thies disagrees, saying that turnout is typical and the 2008 elections are coloring perceptions. Tom Sherwood says that turnout is lighter than many people expected, but the final outcome may still be average.

    1:56 p.m. Polls will close at 8 p.m. tonight, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics said, despite some confusion at the polls today. A Gray spokesman said that the campaign will file for an extension.

    1:23 p.m.: The voting machines problems NBC reported earlier in the day were the result of some confusion over instructions.

    D.C. BOEE set out a set of instructions for all precincts to validate the voting machines before things get started. In order to certify the voting machines, poll workers were told to check for three seals on the voting machines. However, this information was mistaken: Voting machines were only supposed to have two seals. When at least a dozen voting sites opened, they discovered the voting machines had just two seals, and poll workers at those sites called BOEE to question them. 

    BOEE says only two precincts did not allow voting for the first half hour: precinct 82 (Sherwood Recreation Center in Ward 6) and precinct 105 (Harris School in Ward 7). The others continued to accept paper ballots, which were placed in a secure auxiliary field box and have since been scanned. The problems lasted about 30 minutes. The precincts soon cleared up the confusion and all are up and running now. At no point were the machines broken, though there was confusion about the instructions for their use.

    1:07 p.m.: ANC 8C03 Commissioner Mary Cuthbert may have violated D.C.'s campaign-free zone rules by campaigning for Gray inside the restricted zone at MLK Elementary School in Congress Heights. The Advoc8te reports that Commissioner Cuthbert refused to leave the restricted area when asked by the polling manager.

    12:45 p.m.: There have been some voting machine delays and malfunctionings at fewer than 20 precincts out of 143 total. These proplems are not precisely "irregularities" -- which suggests legal wrongdoing. The D.C. Board of  Elections and Ethics says that most problems were fixed quickly.

    11:05 a.m.:  At Harris Elementary School in Southeast, voters said they were turned away Tuesday morning and were told the voting machines weren't working.

    One man said he was told to leave his assigned polling location and go to another one. He said he spent the next two hours going back and forth between the two locations trying to cast his ballot.

    At the 82nd precinct in Northeast -- where the electronic voting machine wasn't working and where questions were raised about the collection of paper ballots -- one voter simply called it "a mess."

    "Who knows if the people who were here this morning are going to come back this afternoon or this evening?" he said.

    "Seventy to 75 people who were in line this morning have left already," said another voter who also wonders if those people will return. "To me, this is a fiasco."

    "Every precinct we've been to so far this morning had problems," Gray said. "Even where I voted this morning with a paper ballot, the scanner wasn't working and we had to drop the ballot into a bin."

    "Anytime elections don't go smoothly, it's very worrisome," Fenty said.

    When asked if he favored extending hours at places where people were turned away in the morning, Fenty said "What we'd like to do is hear from the Board of Elections first."

    9:40 a.m.:  Election officials and both mayoral campaigns are checking into reports of problems at some polling places, NBC4's Megan McGrath reported. Monitors for both camps reported issues at precinct 82 in Northeast. They say the electronic voting machine wasn't working and there was confusion over the collection of paper ballots. The monitors say 70 people were turned away and told to come back later.

    An election official who arrived on the scene said the problem was due to human error and the machine was up and running shortly after 8 a.m.

    Vincent Gray says he had to put his paper ballot into an auxiliary ballot box because the scanner at his precinct wasn't working. Gray called the problems outrageous and is considering what action that can be taken. He has not ruled out asking for an extension of voting hours.

    8:55 a.m.: Mayor Adrian Fenty cast his ballot at about 8:30 a.m. at Sharpe Health School on 13th Street NW.  Gray cast his ballot just before 8 a.m. in his district at the Senior Wellness Center located on Alabama Avenue, SE.  Both used paper ballots.

    8:45 a.m.: WTOP's Mark Segraves reported that a "handful" of electronic scanners are not working at at least four polling locations in D.C.  Those ballots were being collected and will be scanned later, Segraves reported.  He said the problems are "believed to be operator error and the result of some training problems."

    8:35 a.m.: Voting machines at Sherwood are back up and running, according to the Washington Post

    8:15 a.m.: Just before 8 a.m., Twitter user arflott said the electronic voting machines were down at the Sherwood Recreation Center at 10th and G streets NE.

    "No paper backup?!" she wrote. "Frustrating to all 30+ people waiting."

    NBC4's Megan McGrath said that paper ballots were being cast by 8:10 a.m., but poll watchers were concerned that the box the votes were being put into didn't have an official seal on it, meaning there was no way to test the box for tampering.

    An election official was at the scene but was not available for comment at the time.

    Check out more unconfirmed Election Day stories by following the Twitter hashtags #votedc or #dcvote.  You can also follow @nbcwashington for the latest election news all day long.


    Stay with NBCWashington.com and NBC4 throughout the day for polling place updates.  Send yours to dcnews@nbcuni.com.  Then log on tonight for live election results both online and on air.