Extending Polling Hours

By: Clifton Rogers

Several lawsuits have been filed around the country to keep polls open following electronic issues and voting irregularities.

A lawsuit was filed in Durham County, North Carolina to keep polls open for an extra hour. Problems occurred with the electronic poll books that are generally used at polling locations. Polling locations had to make a switch to paper books. The shift was accompanied by an increase in wait-times and confusion. As a result many people were unable to vote, and apparently many people left the polling places.

The lawsuit alleges that citizens will suffer a violation of the right to vote if the polling hours are not extended. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to keep polls open for an extra hour and to open Durham County Board of Elections Office as a “super-precinct.” The suit was filed under the Help America Vote Act.

The Board of Elections has extended voting by between half an hour and an hour in various places to make up for loss of time. Durham County is a heavily Democratic county. Plaintiffs are still seeking a court order for further extensions.

In New Hampshire, a city sent out an incorrect email to voters saying the polls closed an hour earlier than they actually do. As a result, a judge extended voting in the county by one hour. 

            The Colorado Democratic Party filed a motion to extend hours following a website failure. The motion has not been granted as of the writing of this post.

            Professor Josh Douglas addressed this issue in a recent post on CNN.