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Judge Grants Extended Poll Hours

March 12, 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.

The judge’s decision had the potential to delay the outcome of Tuesday’s primaries. 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.

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. A Republican official said about 10 percent of GOP stations were affected.

Democratic and Republican officials said some polling stations were consolidated because of a shortage of election judges, and that others didn’t open as scheduledwhen judges failed to show up for whatever reason.

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

Laredo banker and oilman 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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