“More votes cast than voters checked in” in decertified Baltimore primary; canvass of results underway

A review of Baltimore’s April 26 primary election results is underway following last week’s decertification by the Maryland State Board of Elections due to “irregularities.”

Maryland state election officials opened their doors Tuesday to the precinct-by-precinct canvass of Baltimore City’s primary election results.  Elections officials acknowledged some votes cast on primary day probably shouldn’t have been allowed, but they won’t be thrown out…

 

One problem was that 80 provisional ballots were discovered after the fact that hadn’t been counted.  A bigger problem in some precincts was there were more votes cast than voter authorization cards, which may mean some people ineligible to vote cast ballots.

State Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone said that “the size of the discrepancy, and Baltimore’s inability to resolve it, prompted an unusual state intervention,” noting that the number of ballots cast “was hundreds more than the number of voters who checked in at polling places.”

 

SBE Deputy Administrator Nikki Charlson confirmed that “provisional ballots that should not have been counted cannot be removed from vote totals,” meaning illegal votes would stand.

 

Maryland’s new paper-based voting system may have been a factor, as provisional ballots can now be scanned like regular ballots. “Because people casting those ballots are not found on voter rolls, they would not be counted as having checked in at a polling place.”

 

As one City Council candidate commented, “I don’t think this will help the voters feel confident about the electoral process in Baltimore. I really don’t.”