Newsyour voice your vote


Baltimore City Board of Elections nearly finished counting primary ballots

Posted at 5:08 PM, Jun 09, 2020

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — It was another day of duplicating and counting ballots in Baltimore. A week after the election, they are almost done.

"We’ve come a long way. Most of the large jurisdictions are still counting," said Baltimore City Election Director Armstead Jones.

Today, staff and volunteers are focusing on finishing the emailed and District 1 ballots that need to be recreated.

They work in teams of two, manually filling out official ballots based off each District 1 or emailed ballot.

They have to recreate parts of the D1 ballots because of a printing error from the state’s vendor and they have to recreate the entire emailed ballots because they are not on the official paper that can be scanned.

The process is live streamed and the media and campaign representatives are invited to watch.

"I like the process. We just need to clean it up," said Jones.

Jones said with this election being the first time mail in voting was used to this extent, he’s learned some lessons.

"It’s not a fast process. It’s a process where you have to count each individual vote by scanner; different than election day where you go to a polling place and your ballot is inserted into a scanner on site and then those memory sticks are brought here and uploaded and you have instant results," said Jones.

It’s leaving voters and candidates waiting to see what the final results will be. The two democrat front runners for mayor have been close for the last week. As of yesterday, City Council President Brandon Scott pulled ahead of Sheila Dixon by nearly 1,400 votes but it’s not over. With about 5,000 ballots left to count, it’s too close to call.

"We know that this election is not over. It wont be over until they cast every vote," said Scott.

Scott and voting rights activists point out that one positive thing that came out of this election was the high voter turnout. About 7,000 more Baltimoreans voted in this election, compared to the 2016 Presidential Primary.

"Despite all the challenges with getting peoples' ballots to them, etc... we had a record turnout of voters in Baltimore who went through all those hoops and challenges to cast their vote," said Scott.

Jones hoped to move on to provisional ballots tomorrow, saying they are still on track to finish counting my Friday which is the certification date.

WMAR-2 News reached out to Sheila Dixon's campaign for comment and have not heard back.