Ex-felons call for removal of elections director Armistead Jones

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 18:36:53-04

After inconsistences in Baltimore's primary election, ex-felons and members of the community are demanding the immediate removal of Armistead Jones, the director of the city board of elections.

"We want some new life in this city. We want new life in this state and the only way it's going to happen is if we're given a fair opportunity to elect people," said Leo Burrows Jr., chairperson of the Committee of Concerned Citizens Inc.

Burrow was among several community members and ex-felons who voiced their concerns of voter suppression at a rally outside the city board of elections building downtown Thursday.

Right before election day, people who were convicted of felonies and served their time, were granted the right to register and vote in Maryland. 

Ex-felons claim they were given a letter from the board that said, despite the legislation, they could not vote. Other complaints of Jones' role, or in their opinion lack of, include polls opening late on election day limiting the number of those who could cast their ballots, a lack of trained election judges and the state's investigation earlier this year.

The state board of election found that more than 1,600 votes were handled improperly, several hundred ballots were not counted and only 36 out of the 296 precincts conducted the elections correctly.

"We look to him and his leadership for execution of the voting process," said Perry Hopkins of Communities United. "His mismanagement of the process has breached the public's trust."

Jones has said in the past that improvement to the voting system is needed. He and the board will review the process and make necessary changes before the general election in November.

Until then, the group will continue to demand for a fair chance to have their voices heard. 

"With the two [presidential] candidates that we have, we need our votes counted," Hopkins said.