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A Disconcerting Election Day

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.

Paris Holmes, who was trying to vote at Northwood, said he never received his mail-in ballot, but ran into trouble.

“According to the lady when I first checked in I’d already voted by mail, which was not true,” he said. “I never received a ballot.”

Apparently, he wasn’t the only one with a problem. The state board of elections issued a statement shortly after 1:30 p.m. acknowledging that there had been instances “where a vote-by-mail ballot was deemed ‘undeliverable’ by the United States Post Office, but categorized as ‘voted and returned’ in the electronic pollbooks.”

In those cases, the board said, the voter would be allowed to vote by provisional ballot and the ballot would count.

The statement said the board was trying to find out how many undeliverable ballots had been marked that way.

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