2020 elections | WYPR

2020 elections

NAACP - Baltimore City Branch Facebook page

Democrat Brandon Scott faced criticism about his Baltimore City Hall insider status from other mayoral candidates in a debate hosted Thursday night by the NAACP and the Afro-American newspaper. 

From the get-go, Independent Bob Wallace slammed Scott for failing to change the status quo in his current and past positions in city government, saying a new coach needs to step in.

“I'm listening to you talk about what bills you passed and what revelations you had and all that. But where's the beef?” Wallace said. “Nothing has improved.”


Penguin Random House

There are less than two weeks to go before voting ends, and as we enter this critical stretch in the presidential race, the political and cultural divisions in our country appear more pronounced than they have ever been in modern times.  And the differences between the Republican and Democratic parties are also more pronounced, when viewed over the past four decades. 

In his new book, We Should Have Seen It Coming: From Reagan to Trump -- A Front-Row Seat to a Political Revolution, veteran journalist Gerald Seib, the executive Washington Editor of The Wall Street Journalobserves that for 20 of the 36 years after Ronald Reagan was elected, “someone pledging loyalty to his precepts occupied the Oval Office.” 

In Reagan’s first term, Republicans controlled 14 state legislatures.  By the Clinton years, that number had increased to 25.  By the time Donald Trump was inaugurated, it had grown to 30. 

But Trump’s brand of conservatism bears little resemblance to Reagan’s...

John Lee

A steady stream of Baltimore County voters is going to ballot drop off boxes at locations from Arbutus to Hereford with their mail-in ballots in hand.

A breakdown shows that the ones being used the least are in traditionally Republican strongholds.

 As of last Friday, the least used ballot drop box in the county was in Dundalk with a little more than 1,000 ballots cast. According to the county elections board, a close second was the one in Middle River with 1,133 ballots. Both are reliably Republican areas of the county.

John Lee

In Baltimore County, election officials are counting the more than 84,000 mail-in ballots they’ve received.

They are fixing some voters’ mistakes along the way.

photo by Rob Sivak/WYPR

Today, we’re going to talk about voting: how to do it safely and correctly, and efforts to assure that the results are accurate and that the election is conducted fairly.    

The 2020 election ends two weeks from tomorrow.  More than 28 million people around the country - about 20% of eligible voters - have already cast their ballots, either in person at early-voting centers, by mail, or by depositing them in official drop boxes.  Democrats have outvoted Republicans by a 2-1 margin in early voting, so far. 

For Maryland voters, tomorrow  (Tuesday, Oct. 20) is the deadline to request a mail-in ballot online for the November election.  Tom's first guest today is Nikki Charlson.  She’s the Deputy Administrator at the Maryland State Board of Elections.  She joins us on Zoom to explain what Maryland voters need to know about mail-in balloting, early in-person voting and election-day balloting...

AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster

Last night, Donald Trump responded to his Miami Town Hall questions with his trademark belligerence and bluster. 

Joe Biden's Town Hall was a much calmer affair.  Answeeing questions from voters in Philadelphia, he promised to restore stability and reaffirm America's leadership on the world stage. 

PBS News Hour correspondent Lisa Dejardin joins Tom with a recap of the dueling broadcasts.            


John Lee

More than 1.5 million Marylanders have asked for a mail-in ballot for this fall’s election. If you want to vote by mail but haven’t applied to get your ballot, time is rapidly running out.


Today, it’s Midday on Politics with Dr. Mileah Kromer, the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, and political consultant Sophia Silbergeld, a partner at Adeo Advocacy, a public relations and communications firm.

Three new Goucher College polls were released by the Hughes Center over the past few days, in which Marylanders were asked about a wide range of issues: the presidential race, police reform and the Black Lives Matter movement, and Governor Larry Hogan’s management  of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

  An unusually competitive general election race is heating up in Baltimore City’s District 12, where Green Party candidate Franca Muller Paz has outraised incumbent and establishment Democrat Robert Stokes.

Muller Paz, an activist and teacher at Baltimore City College High School, has campaigned on a progressive platform that emphasizes on community-centered crime reduction, combating the digital divide and investing in schools. She says the Democratic incumbent has not been fighting for the district.

The Washington Post

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the US Congress, ratified by 38 states, and enacted in 1967, to prepare for a situation in which a sitting U.S. president is no longer capable of performing his or her duties.  It is divided into four sections.  The last section begins: “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President...”

Jamyla Krempel

You've probably heard it said that the 2020 general election is the most important election of our lifetime. (We hear that every four years.) Every Election Day is important, but the coronavirus pandemic promises that the Nov. 3 election will be unlike any we've experienced in the 21st century. (Read a story about voting during the 1918 Spanish Flu here.)


You have some important decisions to make--not just about who to vote for--but also how you'll vote. By mail? In person? By drop box? We know it can be overwhelming. We're here to help! Here's some things you need to know about voting in Maryland this year. 

Nick Mosby/Photo by Carde

Today, another in our series of Conversation with the Candidates.  Tom's guest is Maryland Delegate Nick Mosby, the Democratic nominee for Baltimore City Council President.

Delegate Mosby has represented Baltimore’s 40th District in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2017. Previously, he served for five years as a member of the Baltimore City Council. 

In June, Delegate Mosby beat a crowded field of challengers in a primary that included City Council members Shannon Sneed and Leon Pinkett III.  His opponent in the general election next month is Republican Jovani Patterson.

Nick Mosby is 41 years old.  He and his wife, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, live in Reservoir Hill with their two young daughters.   Delegate Nick Mosby joins Tom on the line from his home. 

John Lee

Baltimore County voters are deciding if the county can use tax money to finance political campaigns. The proposed change to the county charter is Question A on the ballot.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The first of two statewide ballot questions this year could create a significant shift in power in Annapolis by allowing the General Assembly to move money around within the governor’s proposed budget. The legislature debated the proposed amendment to the state constitution for more than two decades before sending it to voters this year.

Rep. John Sarbanes

Today on Midday, it’s another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  Tom's guest is Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes, who is seeking election to an eighth term representing Maryland's 3rd Congressional district, which includes parts of Baltimore City, as well as portions of Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties. 

Congressman Sarbanes currently serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee  as well as the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Since 2017, he’s chaired the Democracy Reform Task Force, a group of House lawmakers focused on minimizing the influence of special interests and ensuring fair elections.

Congressman Sarbanes is 58 years old.  He and his wife live in Towson. 

John Lee

In Baltimore County, some voters are not taking a chance on long Election Day lines. Hundreds have already voted this week by taking their ballots to drop boxes.  

The Daily Dose 9-29-20

Sep 29, 2020

Marylanders behind on utility bills will start getting warning notices this week, as a moratorium on shut-offs is set to expire in November. And in advance of the first presidential debate, Baltimore Democrats rally the party faithful to vote blue across the ticket.

Screenshot via Brandon For Baltimore Facebook page

Baltimore’s three Democratic nominees for citywide office came together Tuesday morning to urge voters to elect their party’s presidential nominee, Joe Biden, in a show of unity that was lacking in 2016 when then Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton appeared to be on the way to victory. 

“This election is about the fabric of democracy and whether our country can come back from the last four years of embarrassment to elect people who can help us,” City Council President Brandon Scott said at a news conference.


photo courtesy Mfume for Congress

Today, it’s another installment in our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  

Tom's guest is Congressman Kweisi Mfume, who represents Maryland’s 7th District .  Mfume won a special election in April to fill the vacancy left by the death of his long-time friend, Congressman Elijah Cummings.  He bested a large field of Democrats in a June’s primary and now, as he did last spring, Congressman Mfume is running against Republican nominee Kimberly Klacik.  He won their last race decisively. 

Congressman Mfume previously represented the 7th district  from 1987 to 1996, before leaving Congress to head up the NAACP.  The seat he vacated in 1996 was filled by Elijah Cummings. 

Rep. Mfume will turn 72 years old next month.  He is married to Dr. Tiffany McMillan, an Assistant Vice President at Morgan State University. They live in Southwest Baltimore.

Congressman Kweisi Mfume joins us on Zoom.

Listeners are welcome to join the conversation.  

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Maryland’s State Board of Elections began sending about 800,000 mail-in ballots to voters over the weekend.

To speed up the delivery process, out-of-state vendors shipped large batches of ballots to Maryland, where they subsequently entered the local mail stream as first-class mail.

“The quicker you can get into the mail stream in Maryland, the quicker people will get them,” Patrick J. Hogan, Vice Chair of the Maryland Board of Elections, said at a board meeting last Thursday. 

AP Photo

It’s the Midday Newswrap.  The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues to make history.  She is lying in state at the Capitol at this hour, the first woman to be so honored. 

President Trump is expected to announce his nominee for Justice Ginsburg’s replacement tomorrow.

Last night, in Baltimore, and in cities around the country, protests continued expressing outrage over the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville last March. 

And on Wednesday afternoon in the White House Briefing Room, in an astonishing statement, President Trump would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election in November.  His comments, made in an exchange with Playboy Magazine reporter Brian Karem, have raised a political furor and stoked new fears that America's constitutionally guaranteed presidential transition process could be in for a rough ride this November.

Joining Tom via Zoom to discuss the controversy is Paula Reid, who covers the White House and the Justice Department for CBS News.

City Lights Books


We begin today with a news update from Louisville, Kentucky.  Yesterday afternoon, Daniel Cameron, the Attorney General of Kentucky, and a judge, announced that a grand jury had decided NOT to indict two of the police officers who killed 26 year-old Breonna Taylor last March. News of the grand jury decision sparked loud protests in Louisville, and many other cities across the nation.  Two Louisville police officer were reported to have been injured by gunfire Wednesday night, and the city remains under a 9pm-6:30am curfew.  For a live update on the situation, we’re joined by Jared Bennett. He is a reporter with Louisville Public Media’s WFPL (89.3 FM) and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. Bennett joins us on the phone from Louisville.


Then, Tom spends the rest of the hour remembering Julian Bond, a civil rights icon and an influential and compelling voice for equality and justice.  He had a long career as an activist, a legislator, and a teacher.  Bond was a prolific writer and speaker, and it is striking to read his work from the 1960s on, and realize that, as with the case of Breonna Taylor, so many of the issues Julian Bond organized around for more than 50 years remain unresolved today...

AP Photo by Susan Walsh

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away from cancer last Friday, is lying in repose at the Supreme Court at this hour.  On Friday, Justice Ginsburg will lie in state at the Capitol.  She will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next Tuesday, the day after Yom Kippur.

And on Saturday, President Trump will announce his nomination for her replacement on the court.  It does appear now that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has enough votes among Republicans to move that nomination forward, over the objections of Democrats who say that, in accordance with public opinion polls and given the proximity of the election, the choice should be made by whoever wins in November...

AP Photo by Cliff Owen

The battle lines are being drawn around the timing of a Senate vote to confirm a nominee for the Supreme Court to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away from cancer last Friday.  The iconic jurist will lie in repose at the Supreme Court tomorrow and Thursday.  On Friday, Justice Ginsburg will lie in state at the Capitol.  She will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next Tuesday, the day after Yom Kippur.

And on Saturday, President Trump will announce his nomination for her replacement on the court.  It does appear now that there is enough support among Republicans to move that nomination forward.

Tomorrow on Midday, I’ll speak with Andrew Grossman, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.  He’ll argue that the Senate should move ahead with the confirmation of President Trump’s nominee to the High Court and not wait until after the November 3rd general election.  Today, we hear from a legal scholar who argues that the Senate should wait until after the election, which is just 42 days away.

Ronald Weich is the Dean of the School of Law at the University of Baltimore.  He’s held that post since 2012.  Before that, he served as an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department during the Obama Administration.  Dean Weich joins Tom on Zoom to discuss his view, which he articulated in a weekend OpEd piece in the Baltimore Sun, that the Ginsburg vacancy on the Court should be the next president's to fill.

US Senate Collections

Today on Midday on Politics, we assess the state of Senate races around the country, in light of the death on Friday of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  How will her passing and the fight over her successor affect the composition of the United States Senate, and the 2020 presidential election?  

Twenty-one Republican incumbent senators are on the ballot.  There are three open seats currently held by Republicans.  Eleven Democratic incumbents face re-election.  There’s one open seat currently held by a Democrat, in New Mexico. 

If Democrats win three or four seats currently held by the GOP, they will take control of the upper chamber.  Two Democrats, Doug Jones of Alabama and Gary Peters of Michigan are considered vulnerable, and if they lose, the magic number for Democrats is possibly higher.

Some polls suggest that Republicans in North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, Montana, Iowa, and elsewhere could be displaced come November. 

Tom's two guests today help us take a closer look at these battleground contests for Senate control, and examine how the outcomes may be influenced by the epic Senate battle ahead over the new vacancy on the Supreme Court. 

Jerry Seib

It’s the Midday Newswrap, our review of the week's top news developments.  On Tuesday night, President Trump left the safe cocoon of Fox News and submitted to a nationally broadcast Town Hall meeting on ABC television. At Constitution Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an audience of undecided voters and host George Stephanopoulos challenged the President, who often contradicted his own previous statements on a number of issues.  At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, the President directly contradicted the Senate testimony of Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC, about the prospects for a vaccine. 

Last night, CNN hosted a drive-in Town Hall with the Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, at a minor league baseball field in Scranton, PA.  Polls show Biden still in the lead, but the race is tightening. 

Tom's guest for the Newswrap today is Jerry Seib.  He’s the Executive Washington Editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journaland the author of We Should Have Seen it Coming: From Reagan to Trump-A Front Row Seat to a Political Revolution.

Jerry Seib joins Tom on Zoom.

Baltimore Heritage/Flickr

  The Maryland Board of Elections approved Baltimore City’s early voting and Election Day voting centers during a Friday meeting.  

Early voters can cast a ballot at eight early voting centers, which will open Oct. 26 through Nov 2. Those casting a ballot on Election Day will have 24 election day voting centers to choose from; early voting centers will also host voters on Election Day. 


 SeaChange, the mail-in ballot company that the state Board of Elections blamed for proofing errors in Baltimore’s June primary election, has walked away from its contract with Maryland less than two months before the November general election. 

The Minneapolis-based company informed the state board last week that it would not go through with the work needed to produce Maryland ballots; printing was scheduled to begin Sept. 3. Elections officials say the state has contracted with multiple vendors to print ballots and still on track to have all of its mail-in ballots printed by the end of this month.

The Associated Press

Baltimore County’s elections director expects half the people who will vote in the county this fall will do it by mail.

Simon & Schuster Publishers

Excerpts from Bob Woodwards new book, Rage, have raised harrowing questions about President Donald Trump’s prevarication to the public about the lethality of the COVID-19 virus, and his lack of action to control the pandemic. As the book reveals in great detail, Mr. Trump knew as early as late January just how serious and how transmissible the virus is, even as he downplayed the virus' threat in his public statements.

That shocking revelation -- coming as the US death toll from COVID-19 nears 200,000 -- also raises questions about Woodward’s decision to withhold the information he had about the virus, and important national security matters, until now.  Others have done the same thing.  Is it the right thing to do?

Erik Wemple, the media critic for the Washington Postjoins Tom on Zoom to discuss the issues surrounding Woodward's controversial new exposé of the Trump presidency.