Palestinians Extend Voting by Two Hours
RAMALLAH, West Bank – Palestinian election officials extended voting in Sunday's presidential election by two hours, citing heavy turnout and confusion in Jerusalem (search).
Baha al Bakri, a spokesman for the Palestinian Central Election Commission, said polls would close at 2 p.m. EST, two hours later than originally scheduled.
He said the additional time was needed to accommodate the flood of voters as the original noon EST deadline approached.
He also said voters in Jerusalem needed more time to vote. Many voters were turned away at the city's main polling station because of confusion with registration lists. The glitches hindered many from voting.
Former President Carter worked out a deal with the election commission and Israeli officials to allow voters registered in east Jerusalem to vote at any of the six post offices there.
Sunday's voting occurred with only one known incident of violence. Five Palestinian gunmen burst into election offices, firing into the air, saying they were upset that some of their relatives' names had been left off voter registration lists in the West Bank, preventing them from participating.
Palestinian official Tayeb Abdel Rahim spoke to the men, and they left the office. No injuries were reported.
It was unclear whether the relatives would be permitted to vote.
Palestinian security officials said the men were affiliated with ruling Fatah movement.