BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A number of Baltimore voters received mail-in ballots with errors on them, leading to issues when election officials went to count them, the Maryland State Board of Elections said Wednesday morning.
The agency said the “small proofing error” affected ballots in the city’s first city council district, which encompasses parts of southeast Baltimore.
“During the ballot printing process, the State Board of Elections discovered a small proofing error in the ballot title for the Democratic contest for Baltimore City Council District 1 (Ballot Styles 1 and 19),” officials said in a statement. “The Board requested that the error be corrected with their printing vendor, SeaChange. While the error was corrected in the official voting database, the error was not corrected on a portion of the ballots that were mailed to voters in District 1. Due to this inconsistency, vote by mail ballot styles for District 1 could not be counted properly.”
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The elections board said they’re working to determine if any other ballots outside the first district were affected. They did not say how many total ballots may be affected.
“The Board will work with the Baltimore City Board of Elections to duplicate affected vote by mail ballots onto correct ballots for scanning. The post-election ballot tabulation audit conducted after every election will be carefully reviewed to confirm the accuracy of the election results,” the statement read.
They're assessing whether any other districts are impacted (none they're aware of yet, they say). No details on a timetable. pic.twitter.com/5zrRsqdlmk
— Paul Gessler (@PaulGessler) June 3, 2020
Late Tuesday night, incumbent councilman Zeke Cohen tweeted a photo of early results that showed him trailing challenger Paris Bienert by more than 1,800 votes. In the tweet, he questioned their accuracy.
“Well, this is awkward. State Board of Elections are you sure… ?” he tweeted.
Well, this is awkward. State Board of Elections are you sure…? pic.twitter.com/hBCrnwzkCF
— Zeke Cohen (@Zeke_Cohen) June 3, 2020
The board had posted one round of voting results before taking them down around 2 a.m. Just after 11 a.m., results re-appeared on the elections website showing Cohen leading Bienert with 79 votes to Bienert’s 33.
Wednesday afternoon, the board published preliminary results from the city except for the first district. Results showing up Wednesday evening were from ballots counted through Saturday and some in-person voting from Tuesday.
Initial indications showed former mayor Sheila Dixon holding a lead over city council president Brandon Scott in the mayoral race.
Dixon highlighted some of the issues voters told her they had experienced.
“There were people in that line who actually got the ballot at their homes, but they were confused because it said April 28 and they thought another ballot was going to come in,” she said.
In a statement Wednesday, Scott called for a more transparent process and expressed frustrations with the issues many voters saw.
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