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North Texas Ice Storm Creates Headaches For Elections Judges

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The latest ice storm may have cleared, but it sparked a little drama just in time for Tuesday’s primary election.

Weather conditions led school districts across North Texas to close Monday. With most polling places being schools, that meant no one was around early in the day to let election judges, like Dallas County Democratic party Judge Paula Leone, set-up for the primary.

The judge said she’s, “Terrified yes, in fact I’ve been calling the Democratic Party office this morning, and they’ve got the same problem down there trying to get everybody out.”

Phones have been ringing off the hook at Dallas County’s Democratic Party headquarters, where officials were trying to see how quickly elections judges could get into schools, to be ready to go by 7 a.m. Tuesday, when the polls open.

It’s the same story at Dallas County’s Republican Party headquarters. Early on, party leaders worried election judges wouldn’t get into any schools on Monday.

Wade Emmert, the Dallas County Republican Party Chair, said, “There’s a process that has to take place. If we can’t get in today, we have to do it in the morning which means larger lines, and delays tomorrow.”

Flora Hernandez, a Dallas Co. Republican party election judge, says she was able to set up.

“Fortunately, I had cell phone numbers for the facility’s individuals that are responsible for opening the school.”

But as the day went on, Dallas County election officials confirmed they had contacted just about every school district, and felt confident, election judges would be set up at all the schools in-time, preventing delays or lines.

Darlene Ewing, Dallas Co. Democratic Party Chair said, “The schools are responding. We’ve got our elections officials on it. The schools are getting calls from some of them, saying can you help us? The election is going to go on, so people can go vote as normal and I do not anticipate any problems.”

Dallas County elections officials said they had trouble contacting the Richardson and Mesquite ISD’s. But by 3 p.m. Monday, Richardson ISD allowed elections judges into schools. Mesquite ISD also said it was granting election judge’s access into school buildings late in the afternoon Monday, and had been unaware of the problem.

Follow Jack on Twitter:  @cbs11jack

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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