By Paul Gessler

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland will hold its first mail-in primary on Tuesday, June 2.

Marylanders will be casting primary ballots in the presidential race as well as some congressional and local races.

In Baltimore, people will cast their primary ballots for the mayoral race (profiles below) as well as the 7th congressional district. The special election held on April 28 only covered the rest of the term left vacant by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. Kweisi Mfume won that seat.

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There are also six in-person voting locations in Baltimore for those who may not be able to vote via mail.

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“We strongly encourage anyone who can vote by mail to do so,” said Linda Lamone, Maryland Administrator of Elections. “Voting by mail is safe, secure and free. There is no postage required to submit a ballot. Voters simply need to fill out their ballot, sign the oath on the envelope and place it back in the mail.”

The returned ballot must be postmarked no later than June 2 but can be mailed at any time before election day. Voters should sign only the oath on the outside of the envelope but not the ballot itself.

Eligible voters who have not already received a ballot in the mail may request a ballot by emailing absentee.SBE@maryland.gov or calling 1-800-222-8683.

Here are the profiles for six of the mayoral candidates in Baltimore.

The following locations will be open for in-person voting in Baltimore on June 2 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Mount Pleasant Church & Ministries, 6000 Radecke Avenue, Baltimore, Md. 21206
  • Edmondson High School, 501 N. Athol Avenue, Baltimore, Md. 21229
  • University of Maryland at Baltimore Community Engagement Center, 870 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Md. 21201
  • Dr. Carter G. Woodson School #160, 2501 Seabury Road, Baltimore, Md. 21225
  • Northwestern High School #401, 6900 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, Md. 21215
  • Northwood Elementary School #242, 5201 Loch Raven Blvd., Baltimore, Md. 21239

On Monday, the hopefuls made their final pitches to voters.

“This is the most important election in our lifetimes,” candidate Thiru Vignarajah said.

“We’re in an unprecedented moment in our country,” candidate T.J. Smith said.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and unrest following the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Smith, a former Baltimore Police Department spokesperson, said he’s prepared to work on de-escalation training for police officers and also strengthening community relations.

“We saw a video of a police lieutenant reading off the names of people who have died in police custody. That’s a start, engaging with the community and empathizing with the community,” he said.

With a stay-at-home order in place for much of what would have been the campaign season, candidates spent their time reaching out to voters through virtual debates and by phone.

Former Mayor Sheila Dixon and former Obama administration official Mary Miller both cited the need to build upon the existing consent decree.

“That is the blueprint for improving police practice, restoring constitutional and unbiased policing,” Miller said.

“We also want to work towards resolving some of the issues we face between police and citizens. That trust has to be gained back,” Dixon said.

Vignarajah argued he’s already proven he can deliver results at the state level.

“When I was deputy attorney general, we became the first state in the country to issue new guidelines about how to end discriminatory profiling,” he said.

City Council President Brandon Scott said he’s already leading the city toward better policing practices in his current role. He said he wants to open up internal affairs complaints and get local control over city police.

“Where were my opponents five years ago when the city was burning? I know where I was; where were they?” he said.

The state elections board said it will release some of the results by 8 p.m. Tuesday, including from ballots counted between May 21 and May 30. Each ballot received from May 31 on will be counted a day after the election up until June 12.

Incumbent Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young canceled an interview with WJZ Monday, citing preparations for demonstrations in the city.

To see a full list of candidates, a sample ballot and more, go to the elections website. 

Paul Gessler

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