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Prepping for Tuesday's special election

Primary for 7th District Congressional seat
Posted at 5:15 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 04:44:00-05

BALTIMORE — Technicians are busy setting up for Tuesday's special election for the 7th District Congressional seat, but all signs point to a sparse voter turnout.

"I look for it to be low,” said City Election Director Armstead Jones. “A low turnout, then there's a possibility of rain. That's not going to help, and it doesn't seem like a lot of people are aware of the special election. That's one of the reasons we send out a sample ballot to let voters know that that election is taking place."

Less than 24 hours before the polls open, the Baltimore City Board of Elections has only received 1,245 absentee ballots, which represents just over half of a single percent of the city's 214,000 registered voters eligible to cast ballots in the district race.

With eight Republican candidates and 24 Democrats on their respective ballots, the choices are many, and then there's the matter of separate primaries and elections for both a partial and full-term congressional seat.

"The primary takes place tomorrow so out of those candidates for the Democrat and Republican, those two winners will be on the ballot for a general election on April 28," explained Jones. “Along with that, those individuals who have filed to run for the permanent term will be on the ballot as well."

Voters will then decide who will fill that full two-year term in November's general election, and there's nothing to prevent the candidate who wins the partial term from also claiming the full-term spot.

Sound confusing?

That's what election officials are worried about.

"It is a little complicated and of course, the state is working out how we need to logistically cause less confusion for voters, because you will see the two different races," said Jones.

With a low turnout expected Tuesday, the only thing certain is that your voice and your vote will be even more important in deciding who will fill that congressional seat.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For a list of polling locations, click here.

All Baltimore and Howard County schools will be closed because of the special election. More than 70 schools in Baltimore City will be closed. You can find the full list here.