Nearly 19,000 Maryland voters will have to file provisional ballots if they want to participate in Tuesday’s primary, after the state Motor Vehicle Administration failed to transmit updated voter information to the State Board of Elections, officials said Sunday. The MVA and Board of Elections attributed the error to a programming glitch, and said it affects about 18,700 individuals who updated their addresses through the MVA’s website or self-service kiosks between April 22, 2017, and June 5, 2018. Officials said a “computer programming error” prevented the transmission of updated addresses and party affiliations to the Board of Elections in cases where voters changed their address but did not buy a driver’s license, vehicle registration or title, or identification card.
“We are deeply sorry about what happened and we’re dedicated to fixing it and making sure it doesn’t occur going forward,” MVA Administrator Christine Nizer said Sunday. “We’re going to put additional measures in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
State officials said they plan to send notification emails to the 17,600 impacted voters who have emails on file with the MVA, and efforts are underway to identify all of the impacted voters and notify local elections officials. The office of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) assured residents that every vote would be counted.
“The Hogan administration takes the right to vote extremely seriously and no Maryland voter will be denied the franchise,” Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said. But the problem, announced three days before primary elections, spawned a state Senate committee hearing and drew sharp criticism from Democrats and good governance advocates, who said it was an inexcusable mistake so close to the vote, and could shape the outcome of some races.