ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Multiple state leaders on Wednesday called for Maryland’s elections chief to resign amid issues reported during Tuesday’s primary election.
Wednesday morning, the state board of elections reported an error on some mail-in ballots in Baltimore’s first city council district that led to ballots not being able to be scanned and counted. Voters also reported not receiving ballots and experiencing long lines when they went to vote in person.
On Twitter, Comptroller Peter Franchot wrote Baltimore’s election-related issues are “voter disenfranchisement through gross administrative incompetence and citywide irregularities.”
“It’s time for both the state elections chief (Linda Lamone) and Baltimore election director (Armstead Jones) to resign,” he added.
In an interview with WJZ, Franchot said the issues were unacceptable in a democracy.
“This is stuff out of banana republics in third world countries and authoritarian countries where the people ultimately lose confidence in their leaders,” he said.
Yes, we do have a problem with the Baltimore City elections. Namely, voter disenfranchisement through gross administrative incompetence and citywide irregularities. It's time for both the state elections chief and Baltimore election director to resign. https://t.co/JSrFaJsjl0
— Comptroller Peter Franchot (@peterfranchot) June 3, 2020
Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford also called for Lamone’s resignation.
“I think it’s time for new leadership there and to be done early with enough time to correct all these issues before November’s general election,” he said.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Larry Hogan stopped short of calling for Lamone to step down but did call on her to put together a full report for state leaders by July 3.
“The fact that thousands of Marylanders either did not receive their ballots or received erroneous or late ballots, all of this is completely unacceptable,” he said.
Hogan also called on the General Assembly to hold oversight hearings to determine what went wrong and how those problems can be fixed.
- Some Baltimore Voters Got Mail-In Ballots With Errors; Officials Still Working To Count Them
- Some Ballots For Maryland’s June 2 Primary Being Mailed Late; Officials Urge Voters Not To Procrastinate
At a Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday afternoon, Lamone laid some of the blame for the election issues on a short timeline and coordinating a special election in April.
“We had virtually no time to plan for the two elections that were held a month apart, all by mail and something, frankly, we’ve never done before,” she said.
In Baltimore, Jones fought back, telling WJZ city election staff were not scanning any ballots Wednesday until the issues were resolved and until they got guidance from the state.
“I’m not going to add to whoever is calling for me to step down. I’m here to do a job; I plan to be here to continue to do that job,” he said.
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