2020 elections | WYPR

2020 elections

The Daily Dose 7-9-20

Jul 9, 2020
Rachel Baye/WYPR

Baltimore expands its COVID-19 testing capacity. Governor Hogan makes a decision on how November’s general election will be conducted. And Baltimore County students and educators address systemic racism in an emotional forum.

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

(This program was originally broadcast live on June 17, 2020)

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. 

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.

Xavier Donat / Flickr/Creative Commonas

The primary election was mostly by mail--Maryland’s first--but thousands showed up to vote in person, making for long lines at many voting places. Just a fraction of the votes have been counted. WYPR Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner walks us through what’s known about the primary election.

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. 

A poll that was commissioned by WYPR, The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore indicates that all three city wide races in Baltimore are close, with perhaps as many as one in five voters yet to make up their minds.  WYPR's City Hall reporter Emily Sullivan joins Tom for a look behind the numbers. 

 

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.  

 

Brandon for Baltimore Facebook page

Baltimore’s next mayor will face the challenge of managing pandemic recovery while addressing gun violence and record unemployment. 

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 T.J. Smith for Mayor Campaign

As Baltimore residents brace for further consequences from the coronavirus pandemic, they are also looking for the city’s next mayor to lead recovery efforts and interrupt the cycle of gun violence.

TJ Smith, former spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, is a Democratic candidate running for Baltimore mayor. We ask about his long career in law enforcement, his plan for economic recovery from Covid-19, and creating jobs.

The deadline to register to vote is May 27th. You can register online at the Maryland State Board of Elections.

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.

Office of the Mayor

It's another edition of our series of Conversations with the Candidates, and Tom's guest today is the Mayor of Baltimore, Bernard C. "Jack" Young, a veteran city lawmaker and former City Council President who stepped into the mayor’s job about a year ago when Catherine Pugh resigned.

Mayor Young has spent years in city government, and the year he has spent as Baltimore's mayor has been eventful, to say the least.  It began with a crippling ransomware attack on the city’s computer system and now, of course, the city is dealing with an unprecedented global pandemic.  More than 2,800 city residents have been infected with the coronavirus.  Nearly 150 Baltimoreans have died from COVID-19.  And, the longstanding problem of violence on city streets remains.  More than 92 people have been victims of homicide so far this year.

The fallout of the coronavirus - thousands are out of work, many small businesses hang by a thread. How will Baltimore’s next mayor lead the city’s economic recovery?

Former mayor Sheila Dixon is seeking the Democratic nomination in the primary election in June. She points to her experience governing during Great Recession as an asset.

Photo courtesy Thiru4Baltimore

This morning we kick off a series of conversations with candidates running to fill Baltimore’s top elective office. Up first, former federal and city prosecutor Thiru Vignarajah.

Alcantar214/Flickr Creative Commons

Here's an important update about the April 28 election to choose a successor to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District:

The State Board of Elections has decided there will be three in-person polling centers for people who are not able to vote by mail. 

Rachel Baye

Maryland officials announced on Friday that they are expecting a $2.8-billion drop in revenues for the three months that end June 30. In response, Gov. Larry Hogan announced a state budget and hiring freeze.

JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AP

Voters in Maryland’s June 2 primaries will be sent mail-in ballots, while some will have the option of casting a ballot on election day at one to four polling places per county, the Maryland State Board of Elections said in a Thursday afternoon meeting.

The decision is a departure from last week’s meeting, in which the board recommended there be no in-person voting in June because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Rachel Baye / WYPR


The leaders of the state Senate and House of Delegates are pushing back on calls to require that all voters in the June primary election submit their ballots by mail. Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones lodged their concerns in a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday.

Courtesy of nickjmosby.com

Coronavirus has altered the election calendar for many states, including Maryland. The Primary Election for president and local offices has been postponed from April 28th to June 2nd. 

There still is an election on April 28th, to choose a successor to Elijah Cummings in the 7th Congressional District.  That election will be mail-in only.  The State Board of Elections will be mailing ballots to 7th District voters soon.  Be sure to check the Board of Elections website to make sure your address is correct. 

Today, Del. Nick Mosby is Tom's guest, as we continue with our Conversations with the Candidates series.  Mosby is a Democrat.  He has represented Baltimore in Maryland’s House of Delegates since 2017.  Before that, Mosby was a member of the Baltimore City Council for five years, representing Central West Baltimore.  Now, he’s running in the June primary against several other candidates for president of the Baltimore City Council.  

Before he entered politics, Mosby was a manager at Verizon Communications and Baltimore Gas and Electric.  He’s a Baltimore native and a Poly grad.  He holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Tuskegee University and a master’s degrees in telecommunications management from Stevens Institute of Technology.  He is 41 years old. He and his wife, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, live with their two children in Reservoir Hill.  He joins us on the phone from his home.   

Flickr.com

We begin today with a look at the results of a new poll released this morning by WYPR, the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore on the race for Baltimore City Council President.   This new voter survey comes on the heels of another WYPR/Sun/UB poll released yesterday that's given us one of our first insights into the status of the race for Baltimore mayor.  Tom is joined in the studio by WYPR's city hall reporter Emily Sullivan for a review of key findings in both polls.

The conversation was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page.  Watch the video here, from the beginning until 08:45 into the feed.

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