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Maryland Provisional Votes To Be Confirmed Online

This story was written by Allison Stice, The Diamondback

The more than 100 University of Maryland students who claimed their voter information never showed up on voter lists on Election Day, despite meeting deadlines and never hearing of any errors on their forms, will be able to check if their provisional votes were counted on the State Board of Elections website within the next few days.

About 12,000 provisional votes were cast in Prince George's County, though only 7,181 were included in the presidential election results when the board finished verifying the paper ballots against a voter registration database yesterday, said county elections board spokeswoman Deneen Banks. At Stamp Student Union, 271 paper ballots were cast.

County elections board administrator Alisha Alexander said the number of provisional ballots is nothing new for the Stamp Student Union polling spot, as large numbers of students both at this university and at Bowie State University have voted provisionally in the past. Banks said the board's post-election research found many students had cast paper ballots, because they wanted to vote on the campus but hadn't changed their registration address.

TerpsVote coordinator Devin Ellis said that is irrelevant to the students whose voter information was missing.

"The problem is students attempting to register, not being registered and not finding out until Election Day," he said.

Ross Goldstein, the deputy administrator for the state board of elections, said Prince George's was the last county to finish uploading voter registrations to the state's electronic poll book. The statewide deadline was Oct. 22, but Prince George's County had its deadline pushed back to Oct. 23 because it had so many applications it hadn't finished adding to the computer. They finished uploading a supplement Oct. 25.

"[The supplement] was an additional 2,000 to 4,000 voters, and it's certainly possible that there were 200 or so that didn't get processed," Goldstein said. "It could have happened, what with tens of thousands of new applications, limited resources and staff. I think they did a great job. Ninety-nine percent or more were processed in time."

Alexander said all voter forms received by the Oct. 14 postmark deadline were uploaded to the state board's electronic poll book.

"We worked very closely with coordinator Devin Ellis, and we were very conscientious of the fact that we wanted the students to go in without any problems," she said. "But unfortunately, there were still issues."

The university administration was notified on Election Day of the possibly hundreds of students whose voter information was not in the poll books, Ellis said. TerpsVote is holding off any action against the county board unless it finds there were more problems on the campus than in other polling districts.

"Bottom line, the priority here is to get students' votes counted," said Vice President for Student Affairs Linda Clement. "I've gone to vote once when my information wasn't there, and it hits you very hardespecially when you're sure that you've done everything right."

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