Election day polling at Ritchie Coliseum was delayed nearly two hours Tuesday morning because the voting location’s assigned IT person wasn’t present.
All polling centers in Maryland are supposed to be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m on Election Day.
But residents assigned to vote at Ritchie Coliseum, located on Route 1 by The Hotel and Fraternity Row, were only able to start voting shortly before 9 a.m.
The IT person assigned to work at Ritchie by the Prince George’s Board of Elections called this morning and said they were not able to make it to set up the voting machines, according to state Del. Mary Lehman, who represents Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. This delayed voting until poll workers could make alternative arrangements to set up polling equipment.
Craig Carignan, who lives in College Park’s Old Town neighborhood, waited in line for the polls to open at Ritchie.
“I’m a little angry because this is the first time in all the time I’ve ever voted that this has happened,” Carignan said. “The most important thing is to not discourage voters, and this is discouraging voters.”
Polls opening late was not the only issue that bothered voters at Ritchie Coliseum. Prince George’s County resident Gloria Hensel said it was difficult to find a parking spot at the polling place.
“The state should have shut this [poll site] down knowing the construction is going on,” Hensel said. “If you have a hard time parking [and] the equipment wasn’t working, you definitely … wouldn’t come back. It’s dissuading voters.”