updated 12/16/2006 4:37:01 PM ET 2006-12-16T21:37:01

The state has taken control of the Boston Election Department because the city didn’t stock enough ballots at dozens of precincts on Election Day, when some voters had to wait hours in line.

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Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin and Boston election commissioners signed an agreement Friday giving Galvin’s office supervision of the department through the 2008 election. Galvin will appoint a supervisor to oversee the department.

Election commissioners acknowledged in the agreement that 38 of the city’s 254 precincts ran out of ballots Nov. 7 for up to nearly two hours at a time.

State law requires at least one ballot for every registered voter to be distributed to each polling place before an election.

Galvin’s office received complaints from voters late in the afternoon on Election Day, and he called Mayor Tom Menino, who ordered police to rush ballots to precincts.

Boston also had problems in the September primary, when ballots in eight precincts were inadvertently not counted. However, that issue wasn’t cited in Friday’s agreement.

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