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City hopes to recertify election

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Posted at 11:25 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 07:17:50-04
A review of Baltimore's primary election found over 1650 ballots were handled improperly, according to Maryland election officials. Now, voters and city voting activists want answers and action.
 
The unverified provisional ballots won't be subtracted from the tally, because no one can determine if they should've been counted. Armstead Jones, the city's election director, told ABC2 that the state's and city's priorities are to fix the voting irregularities, count those provisional ballots and recertify the election.
 
But some aren't convinced that will be enough.
 
"We know that we have over 1600 ballots that were mishandled and that's not even counting the 27 other irregularities that we brought up in the first place,"  said VOICE activist, Hassan Giordano.
 
He said those irregularities should force a new election.
 
"The only viable option we have left now is to challenge this in the courts and ask the judge to throw it out and grant us a new process."
 
 
That's a lofty expectation especially since the city's election head told ABC2 that the state is responsible for improving and imposing voting regulations. Voters, however, want answers.
 
"If you want us to trust the way we voted, then there shouldn't be any discrepancies about it," said voter Sharron Frieson.
 
"If the only time we think about this is when there's an election, there's not going to be any improvement year after year," Frank Bond said.
 
Jones said improperly handled and identified ballots, along with a lack of trained staff, added to the ballot issue.  
 
"The integrity of the election is essentially in jeopardy and so we're just asking for a new process so the voters of this city feel confident that in the electoral process," Giordano said.
 
And it's that electoral process that many city leaders say is the most important foundation.
 
"I think we actually have to have a new election to restore the public trust in time for the November election because elections are the linchpin of any democratic society," said C. D. Witherspoon, community activist.
 
But some voters aren't on board with that.
 
"That's like saying because the people that didn't win who they were going to win, we should do a recount or we should revote and then what happens if it comes out differently," Frieson said.
 
Now the question is, how to restore voters' faith in the system.
 
"Voters need to have full confidence that the choice they made and the time they took will go toward deciding who they next office holder is," Bond said.
 
Jones says officials plan to count around 500 outstanding provisional ballots Wednesday.

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