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Some Baltimore voters show up at late-closing polls

With four Baltimore polling sites ordered to stay open an hour later because they opened late Tuesday, some voters took advantage.

Circuit Court Althea Handy ordered that four centers stay open until 9 p.m. Baltimore attorney William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr. had filed an injunction to extend the hours at as many as 10 polling locations on behalf of Donna Edwards' Senate campaign.

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At Beth-Am Synagogue in the city's Reservoir Hill neighborhood, several people went in to vote right after 8 p.m. Campaign workers were still passing out literature.

Voter Nikia Sankofa said she didn't know the hours were extended but was glad they were. She got into the building right at 8 p.m, she said.

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"I was praying that I was going to make it in time," she said. "I wanted to get my vote in."

Lee Allen, a volunteer for Shawn Tarrant's City Council campaign, said he had been at the polling place since about 6:30 a.m. He said there were problems with the machines in the morning, and some people left after waiting in line. The issues were straightened out by about 8:30 a.m., he said.

Elsewhere, Ericca Ellis rushed into John Eager Howard Elementary School at about 8:15 p.m., asking campaign workers outside: "Is it too late to vote presidential? I've got to vote for Bernie!"

After voting, the 24-year-old Ellis said she didn't know that voting had been extended by an hour. "I got lucky," she said.

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Ellis, who manages a GameStop store, said she supports Bernie Sanders' efforts to raise the minimum wage and provide more rights for workers.

Derrel Jones, 29, also was pleased to learn that the John Eager Howard polling site stayed open late. He voted at 8:45 p.m. with his daughters De'aja, 8, and Ava, 2. He was excited to cast a vote for Sheila Dixon for mayor.

"We got to bring Sheila back in office," he said. "I like everything about her."

A couple candidates stopped by the extended voting at the school, also, including Kim Trueheart, running for city council president, and council candidate Marshall Bell.

"I'm checking on my troops," Bell said. "They've been holding it down all day. How can I go back when they're still out here?"

At the Oliver Multi-Purpose center, nine people showed up to vote during the extra hour.

Paul Bishop, 37, who couldn't get off work as janitor earlier, wore a "Straight Outta East Baltimore" to the center.

"It's good," Bishop said of extra hour. "Everybody need to get out" to vote.

At Pimlico Elementary School, about 15 of voters arrived after 8 p.m.

Tashaine Millings said she found out the polling location was staying open on Facebook. The 33-year-old Northwest Baltimore resident who works at a local deli was happy to cast an all-female ballot of Hillary Clinton, Shelia Dixon and Donna Edwards.

She said she was hoping her candidates could improve schools, including at Pimlico, where she has two students.

"We need to keep women up in here, to change things," she said. "I hope I helped make a difference, even if it's a small one."

Tiffany Alexander, 36, was running behind on dinner when she saw on the news that Pimlico was staying open another hour.

The Northwest Baltimore resident, who works in medical billing, had just told her 8-year-old son they'd never make it on time. She decided to try when he urged her to vote against Republican Donald Trump.

By 8:20, she had cast a vote for Clinton.

"I'm ecstatic, I'm elated, it was no way I could miss this after that," Alexander said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.

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