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Judge Grants Extended Voting Hours

March 13, 2002

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Granting the request of hometown gubernatorial candidate Dan Morales, a judge ordered some San Antonio voting stations to stay open three hours late Tuesday because of confusion at some polling areas.

Judge Michael Peden said the results of early voting in Bexar County, a Democratic stronghold that includes San Antonio, could not be released until all voting ends at 10 p.m. The secretary of state said the decision would probably delay the outcome of Tuesday’s primaries.

Representatives for Morales asked for the extra voting hours after about 50 Democratic voting stations, or one-sixth of the total countywide, were consolidated Monday. Republican officials said 35 to 45 percent of the GOP’s 400-plus stations were affected.

Democratic and Republican officials said some stations were merged because of a shortage of election judges, and that others didn’t open as scheduled when judges failed to show up.

Some voters who went to sites Tuesday found no voting booths and, in some cases, no directions to a new precinct.

Laredo banker and oil man Tony Sanchez, Morales’ chief rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, did not object to keeping some polling stations open late.

Morales, a former Texas attorney general, expected to do well in the affected precincts. San Antonio is his hometown, and some of the affected precincts were areas he represented when he served in the Texas House.

Morales had trailed Sanchez in recent polls, which indicated large numbers of voters were undecided.

There are 860,000 registered voters in Bexar County.

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