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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Baker worried about election



ST. PETERSBURG- Mayor Rick Baker is worried polling places will be swamped on Election Day.

"If there is anything that can be done to increase the number of voting booths within the precincts, increase the number of volunteers," he told Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark during today's council meeting. "I just see a process coming forward that is just not going to be good unless something is done."

Clark said she can't do anything about the number of precincts, but called for volunteers to ensure things go smoothly on Election Day. (She's already mentioned the surefire ways to avoid Election Day lines -- voting by absentee or voting early.)

City Council member Herb Polson said residents need to be patient if lines are long at their polling place in November.

In some countries, he said, "people eat mud pies and walk miles for days and in horrible conditions so they can stand in a line that is beyond long and stick their finger in an ink jar."

That got Clark going, who began to tear up as she talked about how Iraqi parents take turns voting to reduce the risk of their offspring becoming orphans.

"We should care more about voting, we shouldn't take it for granted," she said.

"I've been called a dreamer many times, but I hope I am not the only one," Polson answered, eliciting groans from the other council members.

"That's original," quipped council member Wengay Newton.

-Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:37am]


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