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Voters in Line Can Cast Ballots After Polls Close

Washington Post Staff
Tuesday, November 2, 2004; 5:48 PM

As local residents pack polling spots today, election officials in the District, Maryland and Virginia said this afternoon that all voters would be allowed to cast their ballots as long as they were in line to vote before the polls' official closing time.

Virginia Board of Elections Secretary Jean Jensen says that anyone in line at 7 p.m. -- when Virginia polls close -- will be allowed to vote "even if the line is around the block." The polls, she said, will stay open "as long as it takes" to allow each voter who was in line at 7 p.m. to vote.

The "last voter" is determined this way: at 7 p.m. an election official will go to the back of the line and give a slip of paper to the last voter. That election official will stay on hand to make sure that slip is not given to someone who walks up after 7 p.m.

In the District polls, close at 8 p.m. and a Board of Elections official said that anyone in line then will be able to vote. She said they will bring voters inside the precinct at 8 p.m. and lock the doors. If that's not possible, a poll worker will make sure no one else gets in line after 8 p.m.

Maryland officials also said they would ensure that voters in line when polls close at 8 p.m. would get to cast their ballots.

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