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MONTGOMERY COUNTY SCENE

Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. defeated Brian Murphy, a Republican primary challenger backed by Sarah Palin, clearing the way for a rematch in November against the Democrat who defeated him four years ago.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Alyce Ortuzar, a longtime Democratic campaign volunteer in Olney, showed up early Tuesday to set up her table at her usual precinct, Olney Baptist Church on Georgia Avenue.

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But there was no one there, she said -- no signs, no people, nothing.

Confused, she went home and called a precinct organizer. She was informed that the polling site had been moved to the Olney Swim Center, farther south on Georgia Avenue.

After setting up at the correct location, Ortuzar said, she spoke to a few voters who had been similarly baffled. They had been notified a month or so ago via a mailing from the Board of Elections, she said, but hadn't remembered the switch until they arrived at the church.

"It's not highlighted on the ballot," Ortuzar said. "There's nothing to call attention to it. And there's nothing posted on the church that would redirect people over here."

A mere 57 voters had trickled through during the morning hours -- fewer than the number of geese waddling about on the building's side lawn.

"I hope the location mix-up isn't part of why it's like this," she said.

-- Caitlin Gibson

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