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Registration Error Could Affect 80,000 Voters

Rachel Baye


As many as 80,000 voters may have to cast provisional ballots in Tuesday’s primary as a result of a glitch in computer software installed last year by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

The MVA’s computers failed to record updates to tens of thousands of voters’ registrations submitted between April 22, 2017 and June 5, 2018.

The State Board of Elections urges anyone affected to submit a provisional ballot.

“We don’t know how many of those 80,000 are going to come out to vote. We’re clearly prepared for all of them to come out to vote,” said State Board of Elections Deputy State Administrator Nikki Charlson. “The local election officials — we surveyed them when we learned about it. They all have enough supplies to handle an increase of provisional voters.”

Provisional ballots will be counted July 5, she said.

State Sen. Joan Carter Conway and Del. Anne Kaiser, who chair the Senate and House committees that oversee elections, have called for Motor Vehicle Administrator Christine Nizer’s resignation.

Gov. Larry Hogan has called for an internal review of the situation, according to Amelia Chasse, communications director for Hogan. He has ordered MVA leadership to make themselves available for legislative hearings, which are expected next month.

"Our administration is obviously incredibly disappointed that this happened,” she said. “What matters most is that every eligible voter will be able to vote, and every vote will be counted."

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom. @RachelBaye
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