The state of Maryland will pay $230,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by visually impaired voters and the National Federation of the Blind that alleged the state’s electronic voting machines compromised voter secrecy and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Three voters and the federation sued the state in federal court two years ago, detailing problems with the electronic devices, which are often used by voters with vision impairments or other disabilities. Since 2016, most Maryland voters have used paper ballots marked with a pen. Before that, all voters used touch screen machines. The lawsuit contended that in some instances, election judges were poorly trained or that the voting machines, known as “ballot marking devices,” were inoperable. And the lawsuit noted that the ballot marking device prints out a ballot that’s a different size and shape than the paper ballots used by other voters. That means that if only one voter used the ballot marking devices at a voting location, their ballot could be identified among the rest. After months of settlement negotiations, the state and the plaintiffs reached an agreement in August. The Maryland Board of Public Works, a three-member panel that oversees state spending, voted unanimously and without discussion Wednesday to approve the settlement and $230,000 payment.
Maryland Elections Board, Blind Advocates Reach Agreement on Efforts to Improve Ballot Privacy for Voters with Disabilities | Danielle E. Gaines/Maryland Matters
The Maryland State Board of Elections has settled a longstanding dispute over ballot-marking devices that disability advocates say forced them to cast a segregated ballot. The terms of the settlement were publicly announced Tuesday by the National Federation of the Blind, which filed a lawsuit over ballot privacy in August 2019. At issue are the state’s ballot-marking devices, which allow voters who are blind or have other disabilities to use headphones, magnification, touchscreens and other features to independently cast ballots. But the machines also produce a ballot printout that’s a different size and shape than the paper ballots cast by a vast majority of Maryland voters. In recent elections, many precincts in the state saw only one single ballot cast using a marking device – making the voter’s identity and candidate choices entirely obvious and violating the right to a private ballot, advocates argued.
Maryland: Anne Arundel judge expected to rule this week in Annapolis vote-by-mail lawsuit | Brooks Dubose/Baltimore Sun
An Anne Arundel judge is expected to rule this week after hearing opposing sides Monday in a lawsuit brought by two Republican political candidates who say a newly implemented vote-by-mail system in Annapolis violates City Code and could be the source of voter fraud. Herb McMillan, a candidate for county executive in 2022, and George Gallagher, who’s running for Annapolis City Council in Ward 6, filed the lawsuit in July requesting the court stop the city from mailing ballots to every registered voter later this month for the upcoming Sept. 21 primary and Nov. 2 general election. The complaint also notes the code requires voters to pay for returned postage on absentee ballots. The new system would see the city pay for the postage instead. In a hearing with Circuit Judge Glenn L. Klavans on Monday, the plaintiffs and their attorney Charles Muskin sought to show how they would be harmed by the city’s actions. While attorneys for the city and the county elections board argued that state election law, a City Council resolution and the ongoing states of emergency in Annapolis and Maryland give the city the power to introduce a vote-by-mail option. After three hours of testimony, Klavans said he would make a decision in the case “in the next couple days.”
Maryland: More than 2.2 million have voted in advance, with long lines anticipated for Election Day | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
More than 2.2 million Marylanders voted ahead of Election Day for an unprecedented pre-Election Day turnout of 55%, and election officials, candidates and voters were bracing for a final day Tuesday of casting ballots. Additional voting centers will open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., although far fewer than on a typical Election Day in hopes of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Drop boxes will be open until 8 p.m. Tuesday to accept ballots, and mail-in ballots postmarked Tuesday by 8 p.m. will be counted. City Elections Director Armstead Jones was preparing for lines, particularly at Morgan State University and the Liberty Heights campus of Baltimore City Community College. Those sites have proved to be the busiest during the eight days of early voting that began Oct. 26, he said. Jones said he has maximized the amount of equipment in each voting location for Tuesday to get people in and out as quickly as possible. And the city’s election judges have proven to be reliable thus far, with most showing up for work regularly during early voting and volunteering for extra shifts, he said. After the last voter in line at 8 p.m. anywhere in Maryland has cast a ballot, the focus will turn to returns in the races for president, U.S. House seats, statewide and local referendums and local races, including mayor of Baltimore, City Council president and council members.
Maryland: Montgomery County election officials reject ballot fraud claims in YouTube video | Rebecca Tan/The Washington Post
Elections officials in Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction held an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss a viral video alleging that an election worker attempted to tamper with a mailed-in ballot.A thorough investigation revealed no evidence of fraud or misconduct, Montgomery County officials said, but they’re concerned that the video may have spread some damaging misinformation.“Something like this just feeds into people who believe mail-in voting is fraudulent,” said the county’s elections board chair, Jim Shalleck, a Republican appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R). “It’s very unfortunate.” … In actuality, Karpinski said, what the clip captured was the canvass worker darkening an oval that had been filled in too lightly, to ensure that it would be picked up by the ballot scanners. Karpinski said that protocol has been in place for election workers since he started working for the elections board in 2003 and is designed to ensure that as many eligible ballots as possible are counted.
Maryland: Hogan’s voting plan sparks revolt among Maryland election judges | Erin Cox/The Washington Post
When Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced an all-of-the-above strategy to conduct “a normal” election in November, he cast it as a decision to maximize voter access during the coronavirus pandemic. A massive backlash ensued. Over the past three weeks, the custodians of hundreds of traditional polling precincts have said they will refuse to host voters, or conditioned participating on the government paying to deep-clean and sanitize their churches or community centers. Thousands of veteran election judges have dropped out, many of them retirees whose age or health conditions put them at high risk of deadly complications if they contract the coronavirus. “I will not volunteer for an unnecessary suicide mission,” said Rebecca Wilson, 67, a chief election judge from Prince George’s County who has been a poll worker for 18 years. As of Friday, even after 1,000 state workers took Hogan up on the offer of two days paid leave in exchange for staffing the polls in November, roughly a third of Maryland’s 27,000 election judge jobs remained vacant. It is another example of the deadly pandemic weaving uncertainty though the presidential election process. As President Trump faces bipartisan rebuke for suggesting the election be delayed and undermining mail-in voting, Hogan is under withering criticism — and facing open revolt — from rank-and-file poll workers in his state.
Maryland: Trump’s pitch to delay election is ‘absurd,’ suggests he could try to hold job if he loses, Maryland Democrats say | Jeff Barker/Baltimore Sun
President Donald Trump’s pitch to delay the Nov. 3 presidential election “reeks of desperation” and is an ill-conceived attempt to smear the sort of mail-in voting that Maryland employed in its June primary, Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation said Thursday. Trump should “cease his attempts to delegitimize mailed ballots and stop sowing discord over the integrity of our elections,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, a Baltimore County Democrat. Trump tweeted Thursday that the election might better be postponed “until people can properly, securely and safely vote.” The Republican, who is seeking a second term, tweeted that universal mail-in voting would make it “the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history.” There is no universal mail-in voting. Maryland is among the states offering voters the opportunity to vote by mail to keep citizens and election workers safe during the coronavirus pandemic. The state will send applications for absentee ballots to all voters, and they can request one without providing a reason for not voting in person.
Maryland: Local election officials look at slashing number of polling places due to election judge shortage | Emily Opilo and Talia Richman/Baltimore Sun
Howard County Election Director Guy Mickley’s numbers already didn’t look good. Within a day, they grew bleaker. Mickley started Monday with 491 people signed on to serve as election judges Nov. 3, about a third of what he needed. By the time the county election board met at 4 p.m., that number had dropped by 12. Judges were calling to pull back their pledges to participate, he explained, as the coronavirus pandemic waged on. “We are not going to recruit 700 people. It’s not going to happen,” Mickley told the election board. “We cannot sustain 90 individual polling places with judges like this.” Moments later, the board unanimously approved Mickley’s proposal to slash the number of polling places in Howard to 35. Local elections directors across the state face the same problem as they grapple with how to implement Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision for the state to hold a traditional election this fall. Hogan’s July 8 announcement directed elections officials to open all polling places, as well as early voting locations. He also ordered elections officials to mail all voters applications to request absentee ballots.
Maryland: 'Unnecessary Suicide Mission': Health Experts, Election Judges Blast Hogan's Election Plan | Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters
Public health experts say Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s decision to hold a more traditional election in November will increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. While Hogan claims giving people more options to vote will minimize voters’ risk of coronavirus, his choice to require voters to apply for a mail-in ballot instead of automatically getting one will put people at risk during the upcoming general election, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein of the John Hopkins School of Public Health said during a Wednesday morning news conference. “The virus is hoping a lot of people show up to vote, particularly in cramped locations,” Sharfstein said during the press conference put on by the Everyone Votes Maryland coalition. Instead, Sharfstein — who served as state Health secretary under former Gov. Martin J. O’Malley (D) — urged Hogan to pivot toward a mail-in election format like the state’s recent primary. He said the governor’s order to open every polling center in November puts the lives of voters and poll workers alike at risk. Local election officials have repeatedly warned that a statewide shortage of poll workers will likely lead to the consolidation of polling places, and longer lines for the Nov. 3 election as a result. Mike Latner of the Union of Concerned Scientists warned that waiting in line is when voters will have the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Maryland: Governor defends Election Day plan against push for all mail-in voting | Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post
Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday defended his decision to hold a traditional election in November, despite growing concerns from voting rights advocates and election officials about the impact of his choice amid a global pandemic. Hogan (R) said he opted for a “normal” election instead of a “vote by mail only” because of the chaos that occurred during the June 2 primary, when the state mailed ballots to every voter and opened only a few polling sites in each jurisdiction. Far more voters than expected opted to cast their ballots in person, leading to huge lines and hours-long waits in many places. “I’m encouraging everyone to vote by mail instead of vote by mail only, which is what some of our Democratic colleagues are pushing for,” Hogan said during an appearance on the television show “The View,” where he explained his decision to open all polling sites in the state and mail absentee-ballot applications to every voter, rather than the ballots themselves. “In the primary we had, the State Board of Elections screwed up getting ballots out,” Hogan said. “They mailed the wrong ballots. They mailed Spanish ballots to English speakers. They sent things to the wrong districts. They got them out too late.” Democratic elected officials are calling on Hogan to mail ballots to every voter and offer limited in-person voting on Election Day, with more polling sites available than during the primary. Voting rights advocates have increasingly criticized Hogan’s decision not to limit polling sites or mail ballots to the entire electorate. Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) has urged Hogan to reverse his order, saying it could have “devastating consequences.”
Maryland: Board of Elections searching for new ballot printing vendor for November elections after problems in primary | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
The Maryland Board of Elections is searching for a new ballot printing vendor ahead of the November election after numerous printing and mailing mistakes were reported during the June primary. The request for proposals, released Wednesday, seeks a vendor willing to print ballots upon request from voters — complying with Gov. Larry Hogan’s order for a mostly in-person election — but also leaves the door open for a vote-by-mail election, requesting pricing to print ballots for all 4 million voters in the state. Maryland is preparing to hold a traditional election despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Republican governor issued his order last week, calling for all polling locations to be open statewide as well as early voting locations. Registered voters will be mailed an application for an absentee ballot, but ballots will not be mailed to every voter. The format is a departure from the mostly mail-in election Hogan ordered for the June primary in an effort to limit the transmission of the coronavirus. The pandemic has killed more than 3,000 Marylanders since the spring, and new cases have been increasing in the past week — 756 new cases were reported Wednesday, the biggest single day increase since early June. Ballots were mailed to all active eligible voters across the state ahead of the June primary, and the majority of voters made use of them. About 97% of voters returned their ballots via mail or placed them in drop boxes spread throughout the state.
Maryland: Governor orders in-person election for November despite election officials’ concerns | Pamela Wood and Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
Despite concerns from state and local election officials about the practicality and safety of staffing polling places in November, Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday ordered them to run a regular, in-person election with every precinct open to its voters on Election Day. To accommodate anyone who feels unsafe casting a ballot in person because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hogan also ordered the State Board of Elections in a letter to mail each voter an application for an absentee ballot. He said on the “C4 Show” on WBAL-AM on Wednesday that a “normal” election would resolve problems Maryland had in the June 2 primary, which was mostly a vote-by-mail format in which ballots were automatically sent to 4 million eligible voters choosing nominees for offices such as president and mayor of Baltimore. Some voters said they didn’t receive ballots in time, and there were long lines at in-person voting centers and at ballot drop boxes on primary day. “We’re very frustrated with the way the election was handled in the primary by the State Board of Elections and the city board of elections,” Hogan said. “Mistakes were definitely made, and it was unacceptable and inexcusable that they screwed up so much with respect to getting the ballots out on time and getting them out to everybody.” Amy Cruice of the ACLU of Maryland said despite the hiccups with some ballots arriving late or having errors, the primary was a success from the standpoint of voter participation. Turnout was high, and 97% of those who voted did so with their mailed ballots, she said.
Maryland: Local Elections Officials Reject Proposal to Require Applications for Mail-in Ballots | Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters
While Republican members of the Maryland State Board of Elections prefer mailing ballot applications to voters for the November election, local election officials say doing so could be costly and confusing for voters. Instead, David Garreis, the president of the Maryland Association of Election Officials, urged Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) in a Monday letter to adopt universal mail-in ballots for voters this fall. “We cannot overstate the devastating consequences likely to result if the State of Maryland does not plan now to mail every voter a ballot for the 2020 Presidential General Election,” Garreis, the deputy director of the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections, wrote to Hogan, state Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone and state Board of Elections Chairman Michael R. Cogan. He also urged Hogan to make a decision on how to conduct the November election by no later than the end of this week. State Board of Elections members were split along party lines over how to conduct the November election when they delivered their report on the state’s June 2 primary to Hogan last week.
Maryland: Officials exploring mail vendor options for November election after problems with ballots in primary | Talia Richman/Baltimore Sun
Maryland officials are looking at new vendors to potentially print and mail ballots for the November election after having several issues during the primary with the company the state used to handle sending out ballots. The June 2 election was Maryland’s first attempt at mostly mail-in voting, a move spurred by safety precautions related to the coronavirus pandemic. It used out-of-state mail vendor SeaChange. In Baltimore, some ballots were printed incorrectly, forcing election workers to manually transfer voters’ choices to new forms that could be scanned for correct results. Ballots also were delivered late to voters in the city and Montgomery County, which state election officials blamed on SeaChange. The vendor argued in turn that the state was late in sending it the necessary voter lists. Also, Prince George’s County voters initially were sent only Spanish-language instructions, while residents of Hagerstown didn’t get a court-ordered notice in their ballot packets. The state elections board issued a report Thursday to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, summarizing how the last election went and outlining what steps would be taken in the future to ensure a smoother process.
Maryland: GOP Election Board Members Would Require Voters to Apply If They Want Mail-in Ballots | Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters
The Maryland State Board of Elections won’t recommend an entirely in-person general election in November, but is divided along party lines on whether to conduct the election entirely by mail or in a hybrid model. Elections board Chairman Michael R. Cogan, along with his fellow Republican board members Kelley A. Howells and William G. Voelp,…
Maryland: Partisan divide over voter fraud fears keeps Maryland officials from reaching consensus on Nov. 3 election method | Talia Richman/ Baltimore Sun
A partisan divide over whether voter fraud is a legitimate concern in mostly mail-in elections kept Maryland officials from reaching a consensus on how they believe the state should conduct voting in the upcoming presidential election. The five-member state elections board is tasked with presenting Gov. Larry Hogan a recommendation for how to hold the Nov. 3 election. It’s ultimately up to the Republican governor to make the decision — a choice complicated by great unknowns regarding how the coronavirus pandemic might be affecting society come fall. Because the board didn’t reach a consensus, it will issue a report to the governor later this week that makes no recommendation, but rather summarizes the opinions of both sides. The governor will review the report before making any decisions on next steps, spokesman Mike Ricci said. During its virtual meeting Tuesday, the board debated three options: a traditional election with mostly in-person voting, a hybrid model in which voters are all sent applications for mail-in ballots, or a mostly mail-in election similar to the June primary.
Maryland: Local election directors call for hybrid election, saying traditional format would set them up to fail | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
Maryland’s local election board directors are calling on state officials to hold a hybrid vote-by-mail election in the fall with more in-person voting centers, saying it is too late to plan for a traditional election. In a letter to the governor, legislative leaders and top state election officials, the Maryland Association of Election Officials said Friday that its members are best prepared to hold a hybrid election amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The local election officials said they feared they would be “set up to fail” in a regular election with voting at precincts because of a shortage of personal protective gear, election judges and viable locations for polling places. Many neighborhood voting sites, such as schools and senior centers, remain closed or off limits during the pandemic. “While we acknowledge there were some problems with implementation of the primarily vote-by-mail June 2, 2020, primary election, valuable lessons have been learned and there is adequate time to remedy those issues before the general election,” the association wrote.
Maryland: Senate leaders call for ‘hybrid’ election in November, with mail ballots plus more in-person voting sites | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
Two state Senate leaders have called for a “hybrid” election to be held in Maryland this fall that would expand the number of in-person voting locations and allow early voting, while still mailing ballots to registered voters across the state. In a letter sent Tuesday to the state’s top election officials, Senate President Bill Ferguson…
Maryland: Election official: We should have explained disappearance of Baltimore returns sooner | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
State election officials should have been more transparent about the disappearance of early returns from the State Board of Elections website on the night of the primary last week, the board’s deputy administrator said Thursday during a panel discussion about what can be learned from the election. Early results for Baltimore, which initially appeared on the website late Tuesday, were removed after officials found that a mistake in the way some ballots were printed had led to incorrect results being tabulated for a City Council race. Officials were not initially sure how widespread the problem was, said Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator for the State Board of Elections. The results were pulled off the website out of an abundance of caution, she said. “It had no impact on the ballot counting, but when something like that happens, it clearly makes people anxious,” she said. “We should have been more quick in explaining what happened.”
Maryland: Some of Baltimore ballots left to be counted could be time-consuming as workers create forms to scan | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
Of the approximately 12,000 ballots left to be counted as of 10 a.m. Monday, about 5,000 were ballots sent to voters by email, according to Armstead Jones, director of Baltimore’s Board of Elections. That means the votes must be manually copied onto ballots that can run through ballot scanners. The work of duplication is tedious. Elections staffers work in teams, the first person calling out the votes on the original ballot as a second person fills in bubbles on a fresh copy. The teams then swap roles, with the second person reading aloud from the new ballot, while the first person checks the original responses. Days ago, staff started using the same process to correct a ballot error that affected voters in City Council District 1. While ballots cast by those voters were the right size for the scanner, they were missing a line of type. That caused the information to be out of alignment with what the scanner was reading. Employees manually copied the information from the problem ballots to new ones to create ballots the scanner would read correctly. Last week, that process took a pair of workers 2½ minutes per ballot. About 15 teams started the process Monday of recreating the emailed ballots, Jones told the Baltimore Board of Elections members during a special meeting.
Maryland: Another election, another call for Maryland administrator Linda H. Lamone to resign | Jean Marbella/Baltimore Sun
If Maryland elections administrator Linda H. Lamone seemed unperturbed by calls to resign in the wake of ballot errors and on-again, off-again reporting of returns from Tuesday’s primary election, it might be because she’s survived worse over the course of her 23-year tenure. The Democrat, appointed to the post in 1997, beat back attempts to oust her by the administration of the last Republican governor. Since then, she has been protected by legislation that came to be known as the “Linda Lamone for Life” bill that made future attempts to remove her even more difficult. But her defenders say it is Lamone’s competence rather than any law that has kept her in office through multiple administrations and massive changes in how we vote. Over the course of her career, Maryland has gone from paper to electronic and back to paper, introduced early voting and now, because of the coronavirus pandemic, shifted to a mostly vote-by-mail system. “I would want to be in a foxhole with her anytime,” said former state Del. Timothy F. Maloney, a Democrat and an attorney in private practice. Maloney represented Lamone in 2004 when the State Board of Elections suspended her and tried to have her removed from office, something he and Democratic officeholders charged was politically motivated.
Maryland: Officials Want to Remove State’s Top Elections Administrator. It’s Not So Easy | Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters
Maryland’s top elections administrator should retire in the wake of glitches and mishaps surrounding Tuesday’s primary election, Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R) said Wednesday. Late ballots, errors in results reporting and a slew of other issues have some officials fed up with longtime Maryland Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone. Rutherford, along with Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D), called for new elections leadership during a Wednesday Board of Public Works meeting. “I hesitate to ask for anyone’s resignation, but I think it’s time for some retirements and new leadership,” Franchot said. “There’s something going on over there that is just completely unacceptable.” Franchot said he’d also like to see the Baltimore City elections administrator, Armstead B.C. Jones Sr., gone. Problems in Maryland’s first vote-by-mail primary began long before Tuesday, when a limited number of polling places opened. Ballots were delivered later than expected in parts of Baltimore City and Montgomery County, and many were deemed “undeliverable” by the United States Postal Service.
Maryland: Lt. Gov. Rutherford calls on state board elections director to resign following mail-in primary issues | Hallie Miller and Pamela Wood/Baltimore Sun
Maryland’s second-in-command called on the state’s elections director to resign Wednesday, citing issues with the ways ballots have been delivered and returns have been counted in two largely mail-in contests conducted during the coronavirus pandemic. Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford, a Republican who serves under Gov. Larry Hogan, said at the opening of an online meeting of the Board of Public Works that the state should seek “new leadership” to head the Maryland State Board of Elections. “I really think it’s time for the administrator at the Board of Elections to step down,” he said. The rebuke follows the disappearance of as many as 75,000 counted ballots from the state’s website early Wednesday morning. Those votes, sent in by mail and collected from drop boxes through the weekend, appeared on the site at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. At about 2 a.m., the city’s early returns were not available on the state site and instead were marked as “NR” for not reported. Revised numbers appeared on the state website just around 11 a.m. Wednesday, including only some of the 75,000 votes reported the day before.
Maryland: Amid pandemic and protests, voters compelled to vote ‘now more than ever’ | Jean Marbella/Baltimore Sun
After ballots for the primary election never arrived at their new home in Tuscany-Canterbury, Dan Dudrow and Miriam Travieso made calls and even went looking for them at their old place — to no avail. That is why they found themselves Tuesday at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, one of six in-person voting sites in the city. There, they were determined to have a say in who will lead their city and their country through a time of both pandemic and protest. “We really care about who gets elected,” said Dudrow, 79, a retired professor of painting and drawing at the Maryland Institute College of Art. “It’s very important the way that everything is going now,” said his wife Travieso, 82, a retired psychiatric nurse. “We really wanted to stand for peace and cooperation with others.” “Now more than ever,” Dudrow added.
Maryland: Baltimore elections office closes early on the eve of Tuesday’s primary amid protests | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
The Baltimore Board of Elections closed early on the eve of the state’s primary amid concerns about safety at its office, which is near where protests were centered over the weekend. The elections office in the 400 block of East Fayette Street closed at 3 p.m. Monday, according to a tweet from the city board. Also, a ballot drop-off box outside was locked shut at 1 p.m.. Director Armstead Jones said Monday morning he was concerned about his staff going in and out of the office amid protests. The office was already closed to walk-in visits, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was still allowing voters to make appointments to come in. “I can’t have my people jeopardized,” Jones said. “We’re right there at City Hall.” Monday marked the fourth consecutive day of demonstrations in Baltimore over the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day in Minneapolis. Floyd, a black man, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes while arresting him. Captured on video, the arrest has sparked nationwide protests against police brutality.
Maryland: Ballot vendor blames Maryland officials for delay in reaching Baltimore voters for Tuesday’s primary | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
Officials at a vendor that state elections officials blame for a delay in ballots reaching Baltimore voters for Tuesday’s primary say the state was at fault, not them, for the holdup because it delivered the voter information files late that the company needed to address and mail ballots. The 330,000 delayed ballots have been the most high-profile glitch during the lead-up to the primary, which is Maryland’s first attempt at a statewide election held mostly by mail. It includes citywide races for mayor, City Council president and city comptroller. Ballots for the race, printed and mailed by Minnesota vendor SeaChange, began to enter the postal system April 27. Baltimore’s were among the last on the state’s county-by-county schedule, due to be mailed May 8. After complaints from city voters about not receiving ballots, state officials revealed May 17 that the ballots hadn’t gone out as planned. They were mailed beginning May 15, with most of them taking another week to arrive at voters’ homes. Amid a public outcry and pressure from Baltimore’s legislative delegation, many of whom felt the city was vulnerable to voter disenfranchisement, state officials said SeaChange misled them, twice telling elections officials the ballots had been mailed on time.
Maryland: Mail-in ballot delays in Maryland threaten statewide primary, activists say | Jenna Portnoy/The Washington Post
State Sen. Cory V. McCray was bicycling with his four children when a constituent stopped him in the middle of the street to ask, “Where’s my ballot?” He was referring to his missing mail-in ballot for Maryland’s June 2 primary election, which like other recent contests will be held almost entirely by mail because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. “My blood just started boiling,” recalled McCray (D-Baltimore City), recounting his frustration over delays that resulted in 1 million registered voters in Baltimore City and Montgomery County receiving their ballots late — or not at all. State elections officials blamed the error on an out-of-state vendor but said a full audit will have to wait until after the primary, when voters will choose nominees for president, Baltimore mayor and City Council, and all eight of Maryland’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Elections officials have been working for weeks to implement an order from Gov. Larry Hogan (R) that postponed the primary from April 28 and called for the election to be conducted mostly by mail. The governor ordered ballots mailed to the home of every registered voter in the state.
Maryland: After vendor wrongly said Baltimore’s ballots were on the way, officials are scrambling to get them | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
An out-of-state vendor failed to mail hundreds of thousands of ballots to Baltimore voters for nearly a week despite assuring Maryland they were on the way, officials revealed Tuesday amid growing concerns over administration of the June 2 primary. U.S. Postal Service trucks have been driving overnight shifts since officials learned of the problem Sunday, ferrying ballots from Minnesota to Maryland where they are placed into the local mail stream, said Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator of the Maryland Board of Elections. “We have significant unanswered questions about the process, and after the election, we will require a full accounting with a particular focus on Baltimore City ballots,” Charlson said. She said the state had delivered necessary voter information to the company in time for ballots to be mailed more than a week ago. “We are extremely disappointed that the vendor has failed to deliver according to the schedule,” Charlson said.
Maryland: Primary election ballots delayed in Baltimore because they’re mailed from out-of-state | Kate Amara/WBAL
Some registered voters in Baltimore City have yet to receive their mail-in ballot for Maryland’s presidential primary on June 2. Maryland elections officials said the ballots are in the mail. Because of the coronavirus, the election is designed to be an all vote-by-mail election. Baltimore’s ballots didn’t get sent on May 8 as elections officials had been saying, but rather, a week later on May 15. Elections administrators confirmed the delay Sunday. Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott, who’s also a candidate for mayor, said he has yet to receive a ballot. “Right, but for me, it’s much bigger than me. It’s not that just I didn’t get it — all of my neighbors didn’t get it. All of my family didn’t get it,” Scott said. “Look, it’s just unacceptable, it’s just unacceptable. If they knew that, they should have made us aware.” But elections officials said the print shops are out-of-state. The ballots were printed in Minnesota, Florida and Ohio, and mailed to Marylanders from there.
Maryland: About 1 in 10 ballots went undelivered to Baltimore City voters during 7th Congressional District special election | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
Nearly 1 in 10 ballots could not be delivered to Baltimore City voters during the special election in April, raising concerns for the June 2 primary, which is also being conducted by mail. The data, released by the Maryland Board of Elections late Tuesday, shows that 20,367 of the more than 230,500 ballots sent to Baltimore City voters could not be delivered before the April 28 special election. An additional 4,355 ballots were undeliverable to Baltimore County voters, while 3,886 were not delivered to Howard County voters — about 3% of all ballots in those two jurisdictions. The figures are being calculated as state election officials take stock of the lessons learned from Maryland’s first election held primarily by mail. The special election, which was held to choose a successor for the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, was conducted by mail by order of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in response to the new coronavirus pandemic. The rapidly spreading virus has killed nearly 1,700 Marylanders and sickened more than 34,000 others, forcing the closure of businesses and a stay-at-home order that has been in place for Maryland residents since March. More than 480,000 ballots were mailed for the special election, which included only voters in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. The district includes parts of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County. Voters were strongly encouraged to return the ballots via mail using postage-paid envelopes or by placing them in drop boxes offered in each of the three jurisdictions in the district.