Registration glitch won't prevent voting

September 12, 2006

A recent notice mailed to about 8,500 would-be voters around the state telling them that they are not registered because their driver's license or Social Security numbers could not be verified will not prevent them from voting in today's primary, a state elections official said yesterday.

They can still cast a provisional ballot, which will be counted if voters provide some form of identification with their name and address - a utility bill, for instance - to elections officials before Sept. 18, said Mary Cramer Wagner, the director of voter registration for the State Board of Elections.

The notices, generated by the state board, give recipients guidance on how to fix the identification problem, but fail to tell them that they can cast a provisional ballot today.

The Advancement Project, a Washington-based civil rights group, said yesterday in a news release that it had asked the state to send a follow-up letter with this additional information but that the state refused. Wagner said the letter would be reworded before the general election.

"With possible margins of victory razor-thin in congressional, state, and local elections, these 8,500 voters have the ability to tip the balance," said Andrew Rivera, a senior attorney at the Advancement Project.

Melissa Harris

The Sun would like to hear from readers who experience difficulty at the polls today - from long lines to malfunctioning equipment. Please report any problems to Sun reporter Melissa Harris at melissa.harris@baltsun.com or 410-715-2885.

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