State election officials ordered the results of Baltimore’s primary election decertified Thursday and launched a precinct-level review of irregularities. State election administrator Linda H. Lamone said she became concerned when city officials — who on Monday certified their primary election results — later reported they had found 80 provisional ballots that had never been analyzed. Lamone said the state also is concerned about an unusually high discrepancy between the number of voters who checked in at polling places and the number of ballots cast. The number of ballots cast was higher than the number of check-ins, she said. “Baltimore City was not able to investigate and resolve these issues to our satisfaction,” Lamone said. “We are doing a precinct-level review. We are doing this in fairness to the candidates and the voters.”
The investigation is expected to stretch into next week. Lamone said state officials are working to determine the number of ballots that might be in question and the precincts where the discrepancies occurred. She declined to discuss possible outcomes of the probe.
Baltimore’s primary elections produced several close races. State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh defeated former Mayor Sheila Dixon in the Democratic primary for mayor by about 2,400 votes, and three City Council races were decided by a few hundred votes.
For more than a week, a group of activists has been raising concerns about the integrity of the April 26 primary in Baltimore. Among the issues: Eight data files went missing for about a day after the election, and some polling precincts opened late. And 34 released felons — eligible to vote under a new law —received a Board of Elections letter before the primary erroneously telling them they might not be able to vote.