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State: Baltimore election results decertified

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Posted at 1:45 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 18:02:46-04

The State Board of Elections has ordered Baltimore City’s primary election results decertified pending a “review and reconciliation of data for all precincts.”

City elections director Armstead Jones said the decertification review is due to "paperwork" issues.

The Baltimore City Board of Canvassers -- individuals who are responsible for counting provisional ballots -- will meet Thursday night to take action. 

A letter sent to candidates Thursday by state elections administrator Linda Lamone said "discrepancies" are causing the investigation.
 
Lamone said Tuesday evening that 80 uncounted provisional ballots were found in a warehouse belonging to the Baltimore City Elections Board, which she said was reported to the state by city elections officials immediately.
 
However, once her office noticed that the number of voters who checked into polling locations on primary day did not match the number of individuals that voted. 
 
Lamone explained that it is "not irregular" and happens, in certain cases, when a voter actually checks in at a polling location and may decide not to cast their vote.Though she said she cannot pinpoint exactly how many times that happened, she said it happened enough to cause her discomfort.
 
"What it says is our voices actually were heard," said Hassan Giordano, a voting advocate with the group Voters Organized for the Integrity of City Election, or VOICE. The group has publicly called for an investigation of the city's primary for weeks.
 
Lamone said the investigation is limited to the way records were kept during the elections, but added provisional ballots will be recounted.
 
Former mayor Sheila Dixon, who finished second behind State Sen. Catherine Pugh in the Democratic primary for the mayoral race, said  she was "pleased" officials are scrutinizing the process.
 
" I am hopeful that state's review will provide answers to my questions about whether proper procedures were followed during this election," Dixon said in a statement.
 
Jones said he believed the winner of that race will be no different after the process. When reached by telephone, Pugh said she believed the same outcome would follow, as well.
 
Once the election is re-certified, candidates will have three days to challenge the results. Dixon's spokesperson said the candidate will examine whether or not to file a challenge once the results are re-certified.
 
The election is expected to be re-certified early next week, both Jones and Lamone said.
 

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