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WYPR Election Coverage

"Free To Vote": Lessons From Election 2020

Nov 18, 2020
Phil Roeder via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

It’s been two weeks since Election Day, when a record breaking number of people voted in the midst of a pandemic. On today’s Future City we assess the national and local races and ask what lessons they can teach us about elections and ballot access moving forward.

We discuss how election officials pivoted to create safer voting opportunities, the fight to make voting more accessible for currently and formerly incarcerated people, and the impact of both polling and grassroots organizing on electoral politics. 

Melissa Gerr

In Charm City, almost none of the nail-biting turmoil of the national races: Democrats running to take or hold offices in City Hall made a clean sweep. Fairly early in the evening, Brandon Scott declared victory in the race for mayor, and voters gave Councilman Nick Mosby the nod to step into the job Scott will vacate, president of the City Council. We’ll ask WYPR reporter Emily Sullivan … and Lisa Snowden-McCray of Real News Network what’s next and what will be the impact of other choices the voters made.

Melissa Gerr

It's finally Election Day! Get voting information, resources, and reports from the polls from the WYPR News Team, On the Record, and Midday

Michael Patterson via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Over a 12 year career, Bobby Orr provided a platform for defenseman play that is the gold standard in hockey. The photo of Orr flying through the air in front of the net after scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Game 4 of the 1970 Finals for the Boston Bruins is a piece of sports lore.

John Lee / WYPR

While about one-quarter of Maryland’s eligible active voters already have returned their ballots by mail, tens of thousands are showing up each day to make this decision in person. WYPR reporter John Lee relays what he is hearing from voters about this choice. 

RACHEL BAYE/WYPR

You might not be 100% safe from COVID-19 if you’re voting early this week. But you can still vote in-person while minimizing risk. 

Dr. Daniel Morgan is a professor of epidemiology & public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

 

In an interview for WYPR’s podcast The Daily Dose, he said he voted by mail because it’s easier, but would still feel comfortable voting at the polls. 

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. 

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 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.   

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.”

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.

Creative Commons

As Maryland adapts to a new way of life during the coronavirus pandemic, residents will also adapt to a new way of voting. The June 2nd primary election will be held by mail. Advocates Sam Novey, of Baltimore Votes and the National Conference on Citizenship, and Nykidra Robinson, of Black Girls Vote, join us to answer questions about the process.

Screenshot via House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Facebook page

 


  Kweisi Mfume is officially a U.S. Congressman once again. 

On Tuesday, the Democrat was sworn in to Congress by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to represent Maryland’s 7th congressional district through the rest of this year. 

“We’re very honored to have the Maryland Delegation... and all of us to welcome Rep. Mfume back to the House of Representatives, where he served with such distinction,” Pelosi said. “We look forward to again welcoming him when we’re all together, hopefully in a short period of time.”

Baltimore’s next mayor will face inherited challenges--like persistent gun violence and public transit failures--and new obstacles born of the pandemic.

Mary Miller, a former T. Rowe Price executive and top U.S. Treasury official under President Obama, is running for the Democratic nomination to be mayor of Baltimore. She warns the city may lose as many as a quarter of its small businesses because of the pandemic, and proposes a plan of action.

SCREENSHOT VIA EMILY SULLIVAN, KWEISI MFUME CAMPAIGN

Democrat Kweisi Mfume won Tuesday's election to carry out the rest of the late Elijah Cummings’ term in Congress, clinching a seat he held over a decade before leaving to lead the NAACP in 1996.

“I hold myself out to you this evening, willing and wanting to listen to you, to work with you, to build with you, to share with you,” Mfume said during a victory speech Tuesday night streamed live on Facebook. 

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.