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2 Hartford Poll Sites Stay Open Late Following Delays

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Following a judge's ruling, two polling places in the Connecticut state capital remained open for an extra half hour Tuesday evening -- after voters found themselves delayed earlier in the day.

The polls had been open just minutes when problems surfaced Tuesday in Hartford. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy himself was among those delayed.

EXTRA: Find Your Polling Place In Connecticut

As CBS2's Lou Young reported, the race between Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley could end up being the tightest in the country Tuesday. And the day in the much-watched race began with concerns about access to the polls and turnout, and ended up in court.

In a statement, Malloy expressed satisfaction that some polling places extended their hours.

"We are pleased the court has decided to give every voter in Hartford who wants to cast a ballot the opportunity to vote," Malloy said in the statement. "The right to vote in a democracy is fundamental and should never be infringed. We encourage every voter in Hartford to come out and let their voices be heard."

Multiple polling stations in Hartford did not receive printed voter lists in time for the 6 a.m. start of voting, said Av Harris, spokesman for the secretary of the state's office.

He said "more than just a few'' voting sites were affected, making it impossible for voters to demonstrate to poll watchers they are residents of the area and are entitled to vote.

"It's absolutely unacceptable,'' he said.

Foley, voting in Greenwich, had no such problem. His campaign argued that the Hartford voting delays were temporary and did not warrant an extension.

Foley expressed disappointment with the decision.

"Obviously we are concerned that people who have the right to vote and want to vote get to vote," he said in a statement. "But voting snafus like this get to undermine the confidence in elections. But the show must go on."

Malloy Among Voters Delayed At Hartford Poll Sites

Malloy himself had to wait 35 minutes when he voted in Hartford about 7:45 a.m., said Mark Bergman, a spokesman for the governor's campaign.

The polling place troubles were reminiscent of Election Day snags in Bridgeport in 2010 that delayed vote-counting for hours.

With that in mind, election officials were being particularly careful to avoid a repeat of problems that marred vote-counting in 2010. More voters than expected showed up at the polls and faced delays.

"There will be consequences for people not doing their jobs,'' Harris said.

Political analyst Gary Rose said the problems early morning voters faced in Hartford raised questions.

"To me, it requires I think a Blue Ribbon study to see exactly what is happening here in the State of Connecticut and why we've had so many voters come to polls to vote, only to be turned away," he told WCBS 880's Fran Schneidau.

President Barack Obama was urging Hartford residents who couldn't vote to go back if they can and cast their ballots.

Voters in the state seemed dug in along party lines Tuesday.

"I'm for Malloy," one man said. "I like what he's doing, and I want him to continue doing what he's doing."

Another man said he was backing Foley, on the grounds that "we need some change in Connecticut. We have to get this budget stabilized; start generating some jobs."

Polls indicated that the race was close – a rematch of the nail-biter seen four years ago. In 2010, 6,000 ballots separated Malloy and Foley in an election with more than a million votes cast.

That year, it was urban centers such as Bridgeport that made the difference for Malloy.

President Obama campaigned in 2010 and this year to get out the city vote for Malloy.

Foley, for his part, tried to capitalize on voter fatigue with incumbents – especially at the national level. He trotted out New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in campaign stops in the western part of the state.

On Tuesday, he had been expected to stand outside polling places and greet voters in Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, Fairfield and Oxford.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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