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NAACP calls for transparency from state after voting issues cause confusion

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jun 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 07:50:11-04

As voters went out to the polls for the primary election, some were met with lots of confusion.

"You came to make a difference in the city, make a difference in what's going on and you can't vote. A lot of people left," voter Barbara Hollis said. 

She showed up to Baltimore IT Academy just before 8 a.m. to vote, and no one was there. Turns out, the pollworkers couldn't access the secure room where the voting equipment was stored, so they have to delay opening for 2 hours. The Baltimore City Circuit Court ruled that the polling place had to stay open an extra hour because of it. 

Between changes in time and polling location to a registration snafu, the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP is calling for answers from the state.

"There was a lot of frustration about changes in polling places, access to polling places at appropriate times. The major issue is that the state of Maryland failed in its responsibility to protect the right to vote for its citizens," Kobi Little, the chairman of the Political Action Committee for the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP, said.

The Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration determined that about 80,000 residents were not properly registered to vote because of a programming error. The impacted voters had to file provisional ballots to make sure their votes counted. Little wonders if it impacted the election. 

"We don’t know how many of those 80,000 were completely discouraged and didn’t vote at all," Little said. "How many cast provisional ballots? So we don't even have a regional distribution of where those people were registered." 

He is calling for transparency from the MVA and the board of elections and reassurance that the glitch doesn't impact the November general election. 

"The vote is a sacred trust and this sacred trust, in some ways, has been violated so we want the state of Maryland to come clean and say this is the entire scope of the problem, this is why the problem occurred and these are the concrete steps we are taking to remediate the problem," Little said. 

A Senate panel will hold a hearing next month to explore what went wrong with the registration glitch. 

Tuesday, the Baltimore City Board of Elections confirmed reports of mice and flea's shutting down the polling place at Patapsco Elementary School in Cherry Hill. Baltimore City Public Schools has since said the complaints are unverified. Still, Mayor Catherine Pugh calls the problems unacceptable and wants a review of the election board and process.