Jodie Fleischer

Prince George's Ballot Shortages More Widespread Than Previously Thought

Some voters who got tired of waiting in line for hours left without voting

Prince George's County elections officials say they will conduct an investigation into the ballot shortage that left thousands of voters stuck in line for hours on Election Day, and are pledging to prevent the error from happening again.

Nearly two weeks after the midterms, the county still does not have a comprehensive list of the precincts that ran out of paper ballots.

But the News4 I-Team has compiled voter complaints indicating at least 30 precincts ran out of ballots — more than double what was initially reported.

The shortage prompted cries of voter suppression from some voters, but Prince George's elections officials say "human error" was to blame.

Alisha Alexander, who runs the Prince George's County Board of Elections, said officials printed more ballots than required by state law. She said the county based the allocation on the 2016 presidential election, but "unfortunately we did fall short."

The I-Team reviewed voter turnout for the precincts with ballot shortages and found, in almost all of them, turnout was higher for the midterm election than the 2016 presidential election — something Alexander said is rare.

From the Upper Marlboro Community Center to Brandywine Elementary, voter after voter contacted the News4 I-Team to complain that lines were not moving. By late afternoon on Election Day, phone calls, emails and tweets indicated problems at more than a dozen locations.

The I-Team filed an open records request for election officials' internal emails and found several angry emails voters sent to the elections board, noting problems at additional locations.

Voters also complained that some of the precincts only had one working electronic machine, making it even harder to vote once the paper ballots ran out.


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The county scrambled to deliver additional ballots in rainy weather and rush-hour traffic, but some voters who got tired of waiting in line for hours left without voting.

One voter emailed the board and said: "I'm 65 years old and this is the very first election I have not been able to participate in."

Others were still waiting long after the polls closed, which delayed the posting of statewide results.

The elections administrator told the I-Team her review of the ballot shortage will begin next week. The report should be finalized by mid-December.

Here's the list of polling places where voters indicated ballot shortages on Election Day: 

Accokeek Academy, Accokeek
Faith United Methodist Church, Accokeek
Heather Hills Elementary School, Bowie
High Bridge, Bowie
Baden Elementary School, Brandywine
Brandywine Elementary School, Brandywine
Gwynn Park High School, Brandywine
Clinton Baptist Church, Clinton
Fort Evans Elementary, Clinton
Stephen Decatur Middle School,  Clinton
Waldon Woods, Clinton
E Michael Roll Municipal Center, District Heights
Spauldings Branch Library, District Heights
Andrew Jackson Academy, Forestville
Tayac Elementary, Fort Washington
Reid Temple Church, Glenn Dale
Hyattsville Middle School, Hyattsville
William Paca Elementary School, Landover
James H Harrison Elementary School, Laurel
Laurel Boys and Girls Club, Laurel
Mt. Rainier Elementary School, Mount Rainier
Skyline Elementary School, Suitland
Green Valley Academy,  Temple Hills
Arrowhead Elementary School, Upper Marlboro
Excellence Christian School, Upper Marlboro
James Madison Middle School, Upper Marlboro
Kettering Middle School, Upper Marlboro
Marlton Elementary,  Upper Marlboro
Rosaryville Elementary School, Upper Marlboro
St. Mary of the Assumption School, Upper Marlboro
Upper Marlboro Community Center, Upper Marlboro

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