The State Board of Elections announced it will triple the number of locations in Baltimore for voters to drop off ballots and will consider adding more in-person voting centers for the June 2 primary.
The new measures come after Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherforld, a Republican, joined top Democrats in criticizing the board for delays in getting mail-in ballots to city voters.
“The board was warned of the challenges associated with mailing. Unfortunately, it seems like they didn’t heed that warning,” Rutherford said at today’s Board of Public Works meeting.
Treasurer Nancy Kopp, a Democrat who also sits on the board, said that “people have to have faith in the electoral system or we’re in very dangerous territory. I don’t know what the board – it’s not just the administrator – the board can do to assure us that things will run.”
Baltimore’s ballots were supposed to be mailed on May 8.
But the state officials have acknowledged that the ballots – which were printed by SeaChange Print Innovations, a vendor in Minneapolis, MN – were not shipped to Maryland until the end of last week.
Some registered Baltimore voters have still not received their ballots.
The elections board said it will expand the number of ballot drop-off locations in Baltimore City from five to 15.
And late today they added two new in-person voting centers:
• Northwood Elementary School, 5201 Loch Raven Boulevard.
• Northwestern High School, 6900 Park Heights Avenue.
Scott: Further Steps Needed
In a letter today to state elections administrator Linda H. Lamone, City Council President Brandon Scott called on the board not only to place drop boxes in each City Council district, but also to conduct a public education program for voters.
“A focus of this education program should be on the completion and means for submission of the ballots,” he wrote. “This ad campaign should be specifically directed to historically disenfranchised areas of Baltimore City.”
Scott also called for the deadline for acceptance of the ballots to be extended by two days, from June 2 to June 4.