Elections | WYPR

Elections

Local election coverage from WYPR programs and newsroom.

Find your polling place here.

Rachel Baye / WYPR


Baltimore County has recruited 1,500 election judges to staff polling places, but the county is still looking for substitute judges to provide backup. To encourage participation, the county is offering judges a new incentive:  $100 more per day.

The Maryland State Board of Elections is weighing a proposal to replace the small polling places that serve one or two voter precincts with a much smaller number of large vote centers. Local election officials are pushing the idea in response to a massive shortage of election judges and locations that can house polling sites.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The State Board of Elections plans to begin mailing all voters applications for absentee ballots on Aug. 24, State Elections Administrator Linda Lamone said Tuesday in a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan.

Although the state is encouraging all voters to submit their ballots by mail, Hogan has said state law requires every polling place to be open on Election Day this November. But legal experts say the state of emergency Hogan declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic could give the governor broad power to change how and when people vote.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan used a wide-ranging press conference Wednesday to respond to a barrage of criticism from local leaders about rising COVID-19 case numbers and the state’s plan for the upcoming election. WYPR’s Rachel Baye walks through what he said with Matt Tacka.

Rachel Baye / WYPR


On Election Day this November, Marylanders will be able to cast ballots at their regular polling places, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday in a letter to the State Board of Elections. However, voters who want to vote by mail will have to submit ballot applications.

 

The plan is a departure from the June primary, ahead of which all registered voters were mailed ballots. Instead, the state will send all registered voters applications for mail-in ballots.

Harper Collins Publishers

Nationally, the United States ranks 26th in the world in voter turnout.

Given the pandemic, a battered economy, widespread civil unrest and all that is at stake in the upcoming presidential election, it remains to be seen whether more voters will embrace the power they yield at the ballot box in November.

Tom’s guest is Kim Wehle, a constitutional scholar who has written a primer on voting: how voting differs from state to state, what the structural barriers are to voting, and how those barriers can be overcome.

Wehle is a law professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and a legal commentator for CBS News.

Her last book was called How to Read the Constitution and Why. Her new book is What You Need to Know About Voting and Why. 

Also today, this sad note: Dr. Shirley Basfield Dunlap, the director of Theater Morgan at Morgan State University, passed away Sunday at her home in Baltimore. 

Dr. Dunlap was a highly respected theater artist who directed productions nationwide.

She worked with Melba Moore and Ossie Davis, but it was her students, at Morgan and elsewhere, who will forever remember her intensity and her vitality.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Brandon Scott, Baltimore City’s Democratic mayoral primary winner, delivered his acceptance speech outside of his grandmother’s brick row house on Loyola Northway in Park Heights on Wednesday afternoon, surrounded by family.

“Our campaign was about proving to the world that a young black man who grew up in the forgotten Baltimore here in Park Heights could survive everything that you have to live through in Baltimore: the gun violence, underfunded schools living in neighborhoods where vacant homes live in areas where you know that you are not going to be recognized even as human by your own city government,” he said. “That somebody could survive all of that to be the leader of this city.”

 

AP Photo/Matthew S. Gunby

The Maryland State Board of Elections is in Day Two of its efforts to determine winners in the primaries for city-wide and city council offices in Baltimore City.  Given the reports of problems with both in-person and mail-in voting, the Governor made it clear in his remarks yesterday that he would like to see State Elections Administrator Linda Lamone removed from her job.  Other senior officials have made even more direct calls for her resignation.

As for potential winners, Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon maintains a lead in the race for Mayor, although she has not declared herself the victor in her race for her old job.  Marvin James, the campaign manager for City Council President Brandon Scott, who is in second place at this juncture, issued a statement yesterday afternoon that said We believe Brandon Scott will be the winner after all of the missing votes have been accurately accounted for and counted.”

Joining Tom on the line to discuss these and other election developments is WYPR’s City Hall reporter Emily Sullivan.

AP Photo/Brian Witte


A day after the polls closed, there are no final results for the highly anticipated Baltimore City Democratic primaries, due to balloting issues and unanswered questions from the state and city elections boards – including a printing error that rendered ballots for the 1st council district unreadable. 

Incomplete in-person vote totals published Wednesday morning reflect earlier mail-in only data: 

Former Mayor Sheila Dixon’s lead holds at about 30% of the vote. City Council President Brandon Scott has 24% and former U.S. Treasury official Mary Miller has 17%.

AP Photo/Brian Witte


It was a very long Tuesday night for voters and candidates alike in Baltimore and across the state, after Marylanders headed to the polls to cast ballots in statewide primaries. In  Baltimore, voters chose their picks in three powerful citywide races. But because of issues with Maryland’s mail-in voting system, there are no firm results for those races just yet. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan talks to Nathan Sterner about what we know — and what we don't.

A Disconcerting Election Day

Jun 2, 2020
Mary Rose Madden

Voters faced an election day Tuesday tinged with fears of COVID-19, protests over police misconduct and with questions about mail-in ballots. Some of them never arrived and others went to the wrong addresses.

And even though this was supposed to be primarily a mail-in election, more than 11,000 voters had shown up at the polls shortly after midday, according to state election officials.

An election monitor at Northwood Elementary School in Baltimore said many were lined up at 6 am, an hour before the polls opened.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

In what may be the first-ever primary election held during a pandemic, state elections officials urged as many people as possible to mail in their ballot or drop it at a dropbox, rather than go in-person to the polls. But some Baltimore City voters never got their ballots in the mail.

Dr. Popular/Creative Commons

Tuesday is the deadline to mail-in your ballot in the statewide primary election for President and Congressional offices, and here in Baltimore, all three citywide offices, and members of the city council. 

In the handful of other states that had mail-in elections in place before the pandemic, switching from the ballot box to the mailbox involved years of planning.  But in late April, Maryland election officials quickly organized mail-in balloting in the special election for the Congressional seat in the 7th District, and now, just weeks later, they are conducting the primary by mail, statewide. Nikki Charlson joins us on the line from Annapolis with an update. She is Deputy Administrator of the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

The deadline to mail in ballots for Baltimore’s citywide primaries is next Tuesday. This week, WYPR is airing audio profiles of the major Democratic mayoral candidates. Today, WYPR's Mary Rose Madden caught up with Mary Miller at a food distribution site in East Baltimore.

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Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The deadline to mail in ballots for Baltimore’s citywide primaries are next Tuesday. This week, WYPR is airing audio profiles of the major Democratic mayoral candidates. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan caught up with former mayor Sheila Dixon during a workout. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The deadline to mail in ballots for Baltimore’s citywide primaries are next Tuesday. This week, WYPR is airing audio profiles of the major Democratic mayoral candidates. Today, we’ll take a ride along with Brandon Scott, the City Council President from Park Heights. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan reports

Brandon Scott for Mayor

Brandon Scott was raised in Baltimore’s Park Heights neighborhood. He was elected in 2011 to represent the city's second district in Northeast Baltimore at the age of 27, one of the youngest people ever to serve on the council. 

In 2018, Jim Shea picked Scott as his running mate in their unsuccessful bid in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

In May 2019, his fellow council members unanimously chose him to be president after then-Council President Jack Young became mayor following former Mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation. 

Courtesy of Miller for Mayor

After a long career at T. Rowe Price, Mary Miller was appointed by President Obama to top jobs at the Treasury Department. She was the first woman to serve as Under Secretary for the Office of Domestic Finance. For the last few years, she has been a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University 21st Century Cities Initiative.

According to the latest WYPR, Baltimore Sun and University of Baltimore poll, Miller is tied with former Mayor Sheila Dixon for the lead. This is her first run for political office. 

Courtesy of Sheila Dixon

Sheila Dixon is a former Baltimore City council member and city council president. She became mayor in January 2007 when then-mayor Martin O’Malley was inaugurated as Maryland’s governor. She served the remainder of his term and was elected in her own right in November 2007. In 2010 she was convicted of embezzlement in a scandal over gift cards meant for the needy and resigned.

Four years ago Dixon ran again in the Democratic mayoral primary, losing by a few thousand votes to Catherine Pugh. Now Dixon is running for mayor for the third time.   

AP/Patrick Semansky

  


  Only about a fifth of likely Baltimore voters think the city is moving in the right direction, while 65 percent believe the opposite, according to a new poll from WYPR, the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore.

That may explain why two of the top three mayor’s race candidates, Mary Miller and Brandon Scott, are polling so well, said Roger Hartley, the dean of the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs.

The numbers add to “the mantra that voters are looking for a fresh new face,” Hartley said. “With someone like Miller surging or someone like Brandon Scott, who's still doing well and has increased his support, they are those fresh new faces.”

Courtesy of the candidates' campaigns

A new poll from WYPR, The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore shows Del. Nick Mosby, former councilman Carl Stokes and councilwoman Shannon Sneed packed tightly together in the Baltimore City council president Democratic primary race, and Comptroller Joan Pratt with a slight edge over councilman Bill Henry in an unprecedentedly heated race for comptroller.   

Jose Luis Magana/AP

The coronavirus pandemic has made many states declare mail-in only primary elections this spring in order to promote social distancing, Maryland among them. A new poll from WYPR, the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore found that a large majority of voters say the mail-in election will not affect their decision to vote and that most voters trust the mail-in elections process as much as they trust standard elections.

“You have a totally different type of election,” said Roger Hartley, dean of the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs. “It's not getting people to turn out on Election Day. It's not having a union pick up supporters or a church pick up supporters and drive them to the polls.”

Courtesy of the candidates' campaigns

A new poll from WYPR, the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore shows former mayor Sheila Dixon, Mary Miller and City Council President Brandon Scott in a statistical three-way tie in the Baltimore City mayoral Democratic primary race, with 22% of voters still undecided just two weeks shy of the election. 

“A couple of candidates could transcend, depending on how things go,” said Steve Raabe, the owner of OpinionWorks, which conducted the poll. “This is a race that really any one of three or four people could still win.”

TJSmithforbaltimore.com

Former Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith is one of six Democrats who are considered leaders in the race for Baltimore mayor.

This is Mr. Smith’s first run for political office.  He is a former Anne Arundel County police lieutenant who joined the Baltimore Police Department in 2015, with the arrival of Commissioner Kevin Davis. Smith served as the BPD chief of communications until 2018. He then served as press secretary and communications adviser to Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr.

Note about a mayoral debate tonight: Baltimore mayoral candidates will share their perspectives on fair development, housing, transportation and zero waste in a free online forum tonight, Tues., May 19, from 6-8 pm, moderated by Baltimore Sun reporter Jean Marbella.

Confirmed participants include T.J. Smith, Sheila Dixon, Mary Miller, Brandon Scott and Thiru Vignarajah.  Watch this free event at:  Bit.ly/fairdevelopmentforum or by phone at 415-655-0001. The event access code is 472 484 895 and the password is 2020.

Courtesy of jillcarterforcongress.com

Maryland Senator Jill P. Carter is Tom’s guest. She is running for the 7th District Congressional seat that until last fall was held by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. It’s now held by Kweisi Mfume, who won the Special Election last month to finish Mr. Cummings’ term.

Sen. Carter is one of the 19 Democrats running in the upcoming primary for a full term as a member of Congress from MD-7. After 14 years in Maryland’s House of Delegates, Sen. Carter has represented the 41st District in the Senate for the last two years. Sen. Carter is the daughter of the late Baltimore civil rights activist, Walter P. Carter. A lawyer, she’s 55 and lives in Hunting Ridge, in Southwest Baltimore. 

A reminder that Maryland’s primary election is being conducted mostly by mail. Ballots were mailed later than originally promised, but we are told to expect them in our mailboxes this week. If you are a registered voter and do not receive your ballot this week, please contact the Board of Elections to make sure they have your correct address. And if you’re not registered, there’s still time. The deadline for registering to vote is May 27.

AP PHOTO/RICK BOWMER

  Ballots addressed to Baltimore City voters were not mailed until at least last Thursday, a full week later than planned and long after ballots were sent to other registered voters across Maryland.

A statement from the Maryland Board of Elections on Sunday said that the June 2 primary mail-in ballots for Baltimore City voters are now expected to arrive by May 23. The board had originally said that Baltimoreans could expect ballots from early to mid-May.  

 

Courtesy of Miller for Mayor

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  Tom's guest is Mary Miller, one six Democrats considered leaders in the race for mayor. 

This is Ms. Miller’s first run for political office. After a long career at T Rowe Price, she was appointed by President Obama to top jobs at the Treasury Department. She was the first woman to serve as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance.   For the last few years, she has been a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University 21st Century Cities Initiative. 

A reminder that the primary is being conducted primarily by mail. If you are a registered voter, you should be receiving your ballot soon. Remember that the ballot has to be signed and postmarked by June 2. If you are not yet registered to vote, there’s still time. The deadline to register is May 27. For more information about how to register to vote, click here.

Maryland State Archives

Ballots arriving in voters’ mailboxes list the upcoming statewide primary election date as April 28, but the election is actually on June 2.

Nikki Charlson, the Deputy Administrator of the Maryland Board of Elections, told state legislators Wednesday that the error occurred because the ballots were printed before Gov. Hogan’s decision to postpone the election due to the coronavirus pandemic back in mid-March.

Get the latest on Maryland's primary races for president and House.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Courtesy of Sheila Dixon

Tom's guest is former Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon, who is in a crowded field of Democrats running for the office she held from 2007 to 2010.

Ms. Dixon represented the 4th District on the City Council for 12 years in the late '80s and '90s. She served as president of the City Council from 1999 until January 2007, when she became mayor after Martin O’Malley became governor.  Ms. Dixon was elected to her own term later that year.  In 2010, she resigned following a conviction for embezzlement and an Alford plea in a separate case in which she was charged with perjury.  She ran for mayor again in 2016.  She narrowly lost the Democratic primary to Catherine Pugh, and she garnered more than 51,000 votes in the general election as a write-in candidate.

This year's primary election will be conducted almost entirely by mail. Voters should receive a ballot soon. The ballot is marked April 28th, but you’ll find instructions that remind you that the April primary has been moved to June. You must mail your ballot back to the Board of Elections, postmarked no later than June 2.

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