Judge denies gubernatorial candidate's effort to change ballot ahead of primaries

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jun 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-04 19:00:09-04

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge denied gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin’s request to change the ballot to show her candidacy as governor.

Ervin was running alongside Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz before he died, unexpectedly, in May for a gubernatorial bid.


Judge William Mulford told Ervin there just wasn’t enough time to reprint the approximately 3.7 million ballots it’d take to show the changes in the race. The state board of elections also deemed it impossible to create stickers to distribute to every voting location in state – and make sure the ballots are properly tested before early voting in the primary election.


“Marisol Johnson and I are here fighting on behalf of all Maryland’s voters in the democratic primary who we believe still will be disenfranchised because of the confusion that this judge’s decision is going to cause voters on June 26th,” Ervin said minutes after the judge’s ruling.


The state board of elections made its case in court, saying because of all of the ballots, testing materials, and machines that would need to be changed over – they could not show the change in the gubernatorial race.


After Kamenetz died, the state says they immediately started to reach out to voter machine manufacturers to see what the turn around time would be to show the change. The manufacture, Election Systems & Software, told Linda Lamone, the administrator for the BOE, that it’d take a month and a half to the show the changes on the actual ballot on certified paper.


“It was a tough situation. We all had tough decisions to make and I’m just happy that we’re able to move on,” Lamone said.


Ervin announced she was running a week after Kamenetz died.


In court, she said she felt as though the ballots won’t be as accurate as they could be – seeing as Ervin is running for governor.


Her name will still be on the ballot, listed as a Lt. Governor candidate.


The state says they’re putting a footnote at the bottom of the ballot acknowledging the unfortunate death of Kamenetz along with Ervin’s run for governor, but she says it’s not enough.


“We just want the opportunity for our names to show up on the ballot. For the people who support us to be able to go into the voting booth and see our names and to vote in the affirmative,” Ervin said.


She and her legal team have yet to decide whether they’ll appeal the judge’s ruling, but Ervin made a point to point out that lost in all of this is Marisol Johnson, her running mate, whose name appears nowhere on the ballot.


The state says they’re doing their best to distribute adequate notices of the gubernatorial race changes on several platforms including social media, at polling locations, and in the mail.

The judge concluded the hearing saying if he were to call for a change this late before early voting this month, it would ‘create chaos and a disaster’ in the state as far as tabulating votes if anything were to go wrong.