Baltimore’s troubled primary election could be blamed on delayed training materials for Maryland’s new paper ballot system and repeated revisions to a training manual for election judges. But it doesn’t explain why major voting irregularities took place in only one of Maryland’s 24 voting jurisdictions, while the rest of the state experienced nominal problems. Baltimore City’s own elections director, who denies fraud or wrongdoing in the April 26 election, suggests that hundreds of election judges not showing up as scheduled, trouble recruiting quality judges and a lack of uniformity in general knowledge of procedures could be at issue. But plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit believe repeated negligence by top officials led to the problems. Meanwhile, the governor’s office raised red flags about preparedness well before the election but were reassured that all was well. Over 1,700 provisional ballots were improperly handled, and the lawsuit has been filed in federal court alleging voter fraud and gross negligence.
About 1,200 provisional ballots were scanned and included in vote tallies, even though those ballots were supposed to be counted only when the voter was deemed eligible to vote, a process that takes place separate from election day. Another 500 provisional ballots were supposed to be segregated to be included in a future count, if needed, but those ballots were temporarily misplaced.
There were few problems with provisional ballots in the rest of the state, a fact that plaintiffs in the Baltimore City lawsuit are emphasizing.
… The State Board of Elections may also have to answer for its negligence. The state switched to a paper ballot system for the 2016 elections. In January 2015, the state election board said its goal was to have all the training materials for the new voting system ready by June 30. When June came and went, the new goal was to have all of the training materials ready by a mock election in October — but the revisions continued. … Yet none of the key problems in the Baltimore election are about the technology, but about how paper ballots were handled.