D.C., Maryland Primary Election Results 2010: Gray wins, Fenty concedes
Updated: November 2, 2010 - 11:21 am
- (Photo: Jay Westcott)
Mary F. Davis, precinct captain at the polling center at Bancroft Elementary School, said more than 600 ballots had been cast by about 2 p.m. She said there were minor problems figuring out same-day registration, but poll workers had eventually worked through the issues.
"We finally got the kinks out," she said.
Elections board director Rokey Suleman downplayed voting problems highlighted by the Gray campaign, saying the hiccups were expected as the District transitioned to new voting equipment. TBD is tracking reported voting problems on this map.
Suleman said there had been problems at around 15 or 20 of 143 precincts, but most weren't major. Other problems were related to miscommunication to poll workers regarding seals on some equipment. Suleman said those delays lasted less than 30 minutes.
The major hiccups seemed to come later, when the board had serious delays in reporting election results, and sometime after midnight, returns on its Web site suddenly stopped coming in. Reporters stationed there were apparently given a dump of results on paper or some other method sometime around 1 p.m. and began tweeting the results, which put Gray over the top and left Fenty with an unwinnable contest.
Suleman said his counterparts in Maryland were also seeing lower turnout there, and the reasons weren't clear. The District implemented early voting for the first time this year, and about 26,000 total ballots were cast during the new two-week early voting period. Determining the impact early voting had on the process won't be possible until all the votes are counted, Suleman said.
"I think some of it is early voting, certainly," Suleman said. "I don't know what goes on in the mind of the voter."
Fenty, who said he thought the polls should close on time but would accept an election board decision, cast his vote in the closely watched Ward 4 early Tuesday morning, his family in tow. He held his young daughter, Aerin, while he filled out a paper ballot. The mayor was later swarmed by campaign workers from both his campaign and that of Gray, his chief opponent in the race, who shouted alternating chants of "Four more years" and "No more years."
Gray arrived at his polling place in Southeast and greeted Kwame Brown, a candidate for Gray's current post on the D.C. Council, who told Gray that he had to remove his campaign sticker. Gray also voted on a paper ballot, and grew agitated when he learned that an electronic scanner at the polling center wasn't working. Later in the day his campaign sent out a press release urging residents to vote, despite reported problems at the polls.
Fenty won in 2006 after an unprecedented sweep of the city’s precincts in the primary. Now, the city’s results-first-apologies-second chief executive has lost to a Council chairman who might have coasted into the mayor’s office simply by virtue of understanding the value of an open door.
In the past few months of the mayor's race, Fenty’s political career underwent a remarkable nosedive. He apologized for his sour personality, promised to reach out to the community, open a dialogue with his constituents, and better serve the city. His wife, Michelle, recently grew emotional amid a throng of reporters, fighting to maintain control and argued that her husband had not abandoned his community. But Fenty’s apologetic tone came too late.
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