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.