State board of elections spars with Harford over number of voters

The state board of elections is disputing Harford County's claim to have 150,000 registered voters, which would qualify the county for two more early-voting sites in the upcoming presidential election.

The Harford County Board of Elections reported 151,146 active registered voters in time for the Aug. 1 deadline, according to the state board of elections.

"After receiving the number of active registered voters, our analysis is they have less than 150,000," Ross Goldstein, deputy administrator for that board, said Tuesday.

"The issue here was whether everybody who was [registered as] active should be active or inactive," he said. "I think there was some auditing that took place on our part, because it was very close."

Goldstein said the board sends confirmation notices to voters suspected of being inactive, and if they do not respond, they are considered inactive for two federal elections. After that, their voting status is suspended.

Ultimately, "it's up to the state administrator to make a determination," he said.

Dale Livingston, deputy director for the county board of elections, said the board is working with the state to resolve the discrepancy.

"The board is currently looking into the matter," she said. "I am sure we will have to figure this all out by September at the latest."

The Harford County board is also moving the early-voting site from the Bel Air library branch to McFaul Activities Center, on West MacPhail Road.

Livingston said there was "congestion in that little corner of Bel Air" during early voting in the midterm election.

"Harford County had the most early voters in the state, so our numbers were huge and we felt we needed a larger facility," she said. "We are really excited about that."

Livingston said there may be even more early voting in 2012.

"It's going to be really popular," she said of McFaul center. "It is a presidential election, so I hope more people come."

The county's Democratic Central Committee, along with some other groups like the League of Women Voters, spent the summer encouraging people to get out the vote.

Wendy Sawyer, chairwoman of the central committee, said earlier she hoped the county would qualify for two more early-voting sites because they were likely to be in traditional Democratic strongholds along the Route 40 corridor.

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