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Primary Election Spending, Allegations Of Double Voting, DNA Tests, & Baltimore’s Casino

Christopher Connelly

Nearly $25-million were spent on the governor’s race in the primary election season alone… that’s $2-million more than was spent on the governor’s race in 2010 in both the primary and general election seasons combined. A report from watchdog group “Elections Integrity Maryland” says more than 150 people double voted in the 2012 presidential election, casting ballots in MD and in Virginia. MD’s highest court says police can conduct DNA tests on sweat left behind by people who are not arrested. Plus: Baltimore’s new casino, Batts confirmed for 6 more years as Baltimore police commissioner, swimming restrictions at Ocean City, and more.

Primary Spending On The Gubernatorial Race: Nearly $25-million were spent on the governor’s race in the primary election season alone… that’s $2-million more than was spent on the governor’s race in 2010 in both the primary and general election seasons combined. The numbers come from campaign finance reports filed this week with the Maryland Board of Elections. The vast majority of the primary spending was done on the Democratic side – with the three main candidates spending a total of $21.5-million. And more than half of that was spent by the candidate who won the Democratic nomination: Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. Brown will likely spend more in the run-up to the November general election, as will Republican nominee Larry Hogan, who received $2.4-million in public financing. Political watchers tell the Baltimore Sun that total spending on this year’s race will likely eclipse the record of $33-million, set in 2006.

Allegations Of Double Voting: Some 164 people apparently voted TWICE in the 2012 presidential election… casting ballots in both Maryland and Virginia. That’s the result of a study by the watchdog group “Elections Integrity Maryland,” which also found that nearly 44-thousand people were registered to vote in both states. The Daily Record reports that elections officials both here in Maryland and in Virginia are working to verify the voting irregularities. If confirmed, the next step is to determine if anyone will be prosecuted – and, if so, in which state.

DNA Tests On Sweat: Maryland’s highest court has ruled that police can conduct DNA tests on the sweat accidentally left behind by people who voluntarily submit to questioning in a police station. The Daily Record reports that, under the decision, people do not have to be arrested in order to have their involuntarily discarded sweat tested for DNA.  The 4 to 3 ruling says that conducting DNA tests on perspiration represents just another method of gathering information – like collecting fingerprints. The Court of Appeals’ chief judge said that testing of genetic material not obtained by means of physical intrusion does not represent a search, under the Fourth Amendment.

Batts Wins 6 Year Term As Baltimore Police Commissioner: Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts will likely be staying on the job for a while. Yesterday, the Baltimore City Council agreed to grant Batts a full six-year term as the city’s top cop. The Baltimore Sun notes that the council still has to vote on the reconfirmation, but Council President “Jack” Young’s office says it doesn’t expect any councilmember will vote against. Batts has been the city’s Commissioner since October of 2012, when he was appointed to complete the term of the previous commissioner Fred Bealefeld. There’s more here from the Daily Record and here from the Baltimore Sun.

15-Thousand Show Up For Baltimore Casino’s Grand Opening: Baltimore’s new casino saw a big opening night Tuesday. The general manager of the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore says more than 15-thousand patrons turned out to try their luck at the facility’s 25-hundred slot machines and 100-plus table games. The casino had only been expecting about 10-thousand people to gamble in its first evening. There's morehere from the Baltimore Business Journaland here from the Baltimore Sun.

New Casino Still A Gamble For City: The Horseshoe Casino opened in Baltimore this week with plenty of glitz. But are happy days really here? WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith asks that question—and others—in his weekly essay.

Swimming Restrictions At Ocean City Beaches: Swimming restrictions were in effect yesterday at Ocean City’s beaches. This amid heavy surf and dangerous rip currents caused by Hurricane Cristobal, which is passing Ocean City hundreds of miles out to sea. It’s unclear whether the restrictions will continue today. Earlier this week, a teenager from Virginia died after getting caught in a rip current; the Daily Timesreports that the incident occurred after lifeguards had left for the day.

Baltimore Football: The Ravens take on the New Orleans Saints tonight in their final game of the preseason.

Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles will be wrapping up their four game series with the Tampa Bay Rays tonight, with the first pitch set for 7:05pm at Camden Yards. The O’s lost yesterday’s game 3 to 1.

Washington Baseball: Washington Nationals lost their game against the Philadelphia Phillies; the score there was 8 to 4.

WYPR's Morning Edition news anchor Ashley Sterner serves up the latest Maryland news and weather every weekday morning, delightfully interspersed with the occasional snarky comment.