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Primary mail-in ballots delayed to Baltimore City residents

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Posted at 10:59 PM, May 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 08:28:22-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Many Baltimore City voters still have not received their mail-in ballot for the June 2nd presidential primary and the city council president is calling for answers.

"It’s the most important election in the history of our city and we have to make sure it’s done the right way," said Council President, and candidate for Mayor, Brandon Scott.

Come June 2nd, Baltimore residents will be making some big decisions—it’s the primary for the mayoral and presidential races.

"We were told that the ballots were mailed out may the 8th," said Scott.

But Scott said a week later, he had heard from lots of residents who still hadn’t gotten them.

"Only in the city have I heard people in droves say, 'We have not received a ballot' and people are angrily saying, 'Where are my ballots?'," said Scott.

Last Friday, he called for a status update from the Maryland State Board of Elections and Sunday, the board said they are on the way, expected to be delivered to eligible Baltimore City voters by Saturday.

“The Board is deeply committed to ensuring that ballots are delivered promptly and securely to all eligible voters in the City of Baltimore and across Maryland,” said Maryland Administrator of Elections Linda Lamone. “We are grateful to the many Baltimore residents who have contacted us with questions about the vote by mail process and thank them for their patience. I also want to thank the U.S. Postal Service for working closely with us to ensure every eligible voter can vote by mail in this election.”

The mail-in ballots are important. Because of the pandemic, voting will be primarily conducted by mail, with limited options to vote in-person on election day.

"We can’t have people coming out to vote in droves in person because it’s not safe for them to do so," said Scott.

Scott is calling on the State Board of Elections to have a public hearing no later than Tuesday to address the issues.

"Voting is a basic American right that people should be able to exercise and to not be able to do that in elections of such consequence is something that’s unacceptable. We have to demand that our state does better," said Scott.

Councilwoman Shannon Sneed is also calling for answers.

“Campaigns, community groups, the party central committees, and the public were all told that the ballots would be in the mail on the 8th of May. The people of Baltimore City were told, late on a Sunday night, almost 10 days later, that in fact our ballots were mailed a week late, even as the State Board was able to ensure that ballots were mailed on time to the rest of the state," said Sneed. "There needs to be accountability for this. Either we were lied to, or there was a mistake and it was covered up. Ballots are the purview of the State Board of Elections, thus I will ensure that their leadership will be held accountable. As a Councilwoman and citizen of Baltimore City, I am tired of the excuses from the State and City Board of Elections. It is unacceptable that there still are no ballots in the mailboxes of Baltimore City voters.”

Any eligible voter who does not receive a ballot in the mail may submit a ballot request to absentee.SBE@maryland.gov or call 1-800-222-8683.

There is no postage required to submit a ballot. The return ballot must be postmarked no later than June 2 but can be mailed at any time before election day.