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Sample Ballots in Pr. George's Misidentify Candidates

Voter Ruth Clopp, who got one of the sample ballots in Hyattsville this morning, said most voters got a "good laugh" out of them while they waited in line.

"I would like to think they've underestimated the intelligence of voters," she said. "But obviously they feel there's enough voters out there who would fall for these."

One of two workers passing out the fliers at Ernest Everett Just Middle School in Mitchellville said he knew there were elections in Pennsylvania today but "I guess I sold my vote to buy a coat," referring to the $100 he was told they would be paid for the day.

Kevin Baker, 40, who lives in a homeless shelter in North Philadelphia, said he felt duped.

Baker said he was one of about 300 people who boarded buses at Broad and Oxford Streets in Philadelphia, bound for Prince George's County. The bus was supposed to leave at 3:30, but didn't pull out until about 5 a.m.

"I feel like I was brought here under false pretenses," Baker said.

Salim Abdu-Haqq, 36, agreed. He said someone came to their shelter about a week ago, asking if they wanted to make some money. "They promised three meals and $100," he said.

Abdu-Haqq said about 85 percent of the workers were from homeless shelters. The rest were from the neighborhood.

Dennis Johnson, 55, who said he is a salesman from Claymont, Del., passed out the fliers to arriving voters while wearing a Steele T-shirt and an Ehrlich cap. He said he was being paid to pass out the fliers. Asked who was paying him, Johnson said, "Ehrlich and Steele -- that's where we went to get this [flier] and shirt and hat."

Asked about the accuracy of the flier, Johnson said, "I had no idea about it. I'm a hired hand."

Terry Lierman, chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, said he has spoken with "a couple lawyers" about the legality of the fliers.

"We're going to iron that out after the election -- to see what can and can't be done," Lierman said Tuesday morning outside the polling station at Leisure World in Silver Spring. Lierman said he's going to speak with Maryland's attorney general after the election.

"Obviously, it's too late for this election," Lierman said, "but I want to see what rules and laws we can establish for the next election." He called the fliers "incredibly deceitful."

"Every election they find new lows," he said of the Republicans. "We have to say enough is enough."

Staff writers Ann E. Marimow, Dan Morse, Matthew Mosk, Katherine Shaver, John Wagner and Ovetta Wiggins contributed to this story.


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