Montgomery County Officials Must Count Voters’ Provisional Ballots

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2006

Contact: Stacey Gates or Josh Glasstetter at People For the American Way Foundation

Email: media@pfaw.org

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

Other: Array

UPDATE: Elections officials have extended Voting hours for Montgomery County, Md., till 9:00 p.m. tonight.

An astonishing failure by Montgomery County, Maryland election officials meant that thousands of voters were either turned away at the polls this morning or filed paper provisional ballots, which are often not counted by election officials.

“Montgomery County voters must not be stripped of their right to vote by the failure of county election officials,” said People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas, a Montgomery County resident. “Votes cast on provisional ballots must be counted. Officials should strongly consider whether it is necessary and appropriate to hold all polling places open for an extra hour or two this evening.”

Neas said the countywide problems caused by election officials’ failure to distribute key components to polling places demonstrate the continuing vulnerabilities of America’s electoral system and threats to Americans’ right to cast a vote. He called on election officials to be transparent in their investigation and in safeguards they will put in place to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

Neas encouraged Montgomery County voters who have experienced problems voting to call the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Election Protection is a nonpartisan coalition effort to prevent, identify, and resolve barriers to voting.

People For the American Way Foundation is engaged in a variety of voter protection efforts nationwide, including litigation against discriminatory voter registration and identification procedures.