Maryland held its primary elections two weeks ago, but on Thursday, the State Board of Elections ordered the decertification of the Baltimore primary election results. The election results in Baltimore had been certified on Monday, but a precinct-by-precinct review of voter irregularities is now underway.
The State Board of Elections called for the decertification of the Baltimore election results after 80 provisional ballots were discovered uncounted. Linda H. Lamone, the State Board of Elections administrator, told WJZ that there were also a number of discrepancies at more than one precinct of a different nature. There were a number of people who had checked in at their polling locations, who either never cast their ballots or their ballots are unaccounted for.
“They are supposed to report that information to me before the election is certified,” Lamone explained. “Baltimore City did it I think about the same time and when we looked at the reconciliation we saw that there were some discrepancies that we weren’t happy with.”
Additionally, election watchdogs claimed that there were late openings at polling locations, voters who had been turned away at their polling locations, voters who had been misdirected by poll workers, a rush to train enough election judges to handle any voting issues, and data files of the actual election results that went missing for one day.
Consequently, all 296 precincts are now under review.
Baltimore City Board of Elections just voted to de-certify the results of the city’s recent primary election pic.twitter.com/1gRl0zIMYe
— Christian Schaffer (@chrisfromabc2) May 12, 2016
“We’re sorting everything by precinct, all the documents, all the ballots, everything is being sorted by precinct,” said Lamone.
Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt received a letter last week from an activist group called Voters Organized for the Integrity of City Elections (VOICE) that asked for an investigation into complaints by voters about the Baltimore primary, FOX Baltimore reported. The standing results of the election broken down by precinct can be found online.
Lamone reportedly said that the State Board of Elections became concerned about the unusually high discrepancy between the number of voters who had checked in to their polling locations and the actual number of ballots that were cast. The Baltimore Sun reported that, at some precincts, the number of ballots that had been cast was actually higher than the number of check-ins at the polling location. Compound that with the awareness that eight data files actually went missing for about a day after the election as well as other issues surrounding the primary, and the State Board of Elections decided to take on the investigation.
“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.”
Thursday, VOICE member Hassan Giordano said the group is pleased that their concerns are being investigated, but called the election “another stain on the city of Baltimore.”
Lamone said that it is unusual for the state to intervene, but that the city didn’t adequately explain the discrepancies.
“Because of discrepancies in some of the data for Baltimore City, the State Administrator has decided that the election data for all precincts in the City will be reviewed,” an email from Lamone to all candidates in Baltimore’s elections stated. “In light of that decision, the Baltimore City Board of Canvassers will be rescinding its certification of the election results pending completion of the State Board’s review.”
The city’s elections director, Armstead Jones, Sr., said that he couldn’t recall where the uncounted provisional ballots were found, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Once the investigation is complete and the results of the Baltimore primary election are certified again, candidates will have three days to challenge the results, ABC 2 News reported.
Voter turnout in Baltimore this election set a modern-day record, surpassing Obama’s historic run in 2008 pic.twitter.com/BoybxmxydX
— Luke Broadwater (@lukebroadwater) April 27, 2016