BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Late-opening polls and problems with voter rolls and judges are just some of the issues that plagued Baltimore City polling places last week. Some fed-up voters have had enough and are calling for the removal of the entire Board of Elections.
Investigator Mike Hellgren reports thousands of votes are still being counted.
There are approximately 10,000 uncounted votes; it is unlikely they will change the outcome. The bigger issue for some voters is the integrity of this election and making sure these problems don’t happen again.
Some outraged voters call the primary in Baltimore City a mess with polls that opened late and judges ill-trained to handle their jobs.
“The totality of all these circumstances that happened essentially leads to voter suppression and we want to make sure it’s investigated,” said political activist Hassan Giordano.
Giordano says he fielded complaint after complaint, including a campaign worker mistaken for a judge and allowed to scan ballots, voters getting the wrong ballots and eight precincts failing to turn in results until the next day.
“We have a screwed up system that, obviously, is not being run right and we have to make sure this never happens again,” Giordano said.
At Board of Elections headquarters—where thousands of votes are still being counted, long-time election chief Armistead Jones is defending himself.
“I have no doubts about the votes that are being counted,” he said.
That includes those from late-arriving precincts. He says hundreds of judges dropped out just weeks before the primary and he was able to replace them.
“We had to hire people Friday before the election and train them Monday night to be at the polls at six in the morning,” he said.
He says he has no control over polling places that opened late and he refuses to resign…but that doesn’t satisfy activists, who plan to keep up the pressure.
“This is gross incompetence. He’s been there way too long to have issues like this arise,” Giordano said.
In a statement, the Baltimore branch of the NAACP said, “The Baltimore NAACP has always fought to guarantee that all citizens have access to the ballot box.
Allegations of irregularities in the Maryland primaries must be examined and questions must be answered fully and completely to ensure good faith in the outcome and in the process.
We call on the Administrator and board members of the Baltimore City Board of Elections to operate in an open and transparent manner as they move towards the final tally of votes collected in the very important races for the United States Senate, Mayor and for the City Council in Baltimore.
The Baltimore NAACP is reserving judgement on the ability of these election officials to continue in their capacity until a conclusion is reached. The eyes of the citizens of Baltimore and the entire state of Maryland are watching as these results will have far reaching implications for Baltimore’s future.”
Armistead Jones says the election results should be certified by Friday afternoon.