About 1,650 ballots cast in Baltimore’s primary election were handled improperly, a state review has found — prompting some to question the validity of the election results. The State Board of Elections concluded that 1,188 provisional ballots were inappropriately scanned into the vote tally on Election Day — without judges verifying that the voters were eligible — and 465 other provisional ballots were not considered. The board’s findings were released Monday. “In many ways, this is worse than what anybody thought,” said the Rev. Cortly “C.D.” Witherspoon, an activist with Voters Organized for the Integrity of City Elections, or VOICE. “Although we knew there was a problem, we did not know it was to this magnitude. The citizens deserve better.”
State officials pledged to work with the city to ensure the November election goes more smoothly. They ordered Baltimore’s election results decertified this month amid concerns about voting irregularities. For several days, election workers from across the region conducted a precinct-level review of the city’s primary — focusing on why there were about 1,000 more ballots cast than there were voters who checked into the polls on Election Day.
Officials concluded the problem involved provisional ballots —ballots given to people who show up to vote but whose names are not on the registered voters list for the primary election at that precinct. Those ballots are supposed to be set aside so officials can determine later if the voter was eligible. These voters would not appear on the check-in list of those registered. State officials believe that in some cases, these ballots were not set aside but were scanned into the total.