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Is That Vote For Trump Or Biden? Figuring Out Voters' Intent On Questionable Ballots

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.

Monday morning, the Baltimore County Elections Board looked at 35 questionable ballots. For instance, on one, a voter selected Democratic incumbent Dutch Ruppersberger in the 2nd Congressional district race, then clearly scratched it out and voted for Republican Johnny Ray Salling.

So the board sorted that out.

“I move we vote for or count this as a Salling vote,” said board member Bruce Harris.

The board agreed to give the vote to Salling.

Likewise, another person first voted for Donald Trump for president, then wrote “mistake,” over Trump’s name with three exclamation points and bubbled in for Joe Biden.

Biden got that vote.

“We have been relatively consistent with this practice of clearly errant marks, correcting them,” said Bruce Robinson, the chairman of the county elections board.

If you make a mistake you can ask your local board of elections for a new ballot.

Meantime, you have to have your application for a mail-in ballot in to the board of elections by Tuesday. You can submit your application onlineup until 11:59 Tuesday night.  

In-person early voting in Maryland begins October 26 and runs through November 2.

“Our warehouse is snaked with ballots,” Baltimore County Elections Director Katie Brown told the board. “Keep in mind its over 1.3 million ballots.”

Election Day is November 3.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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