The Baltimore City Board of Elections has recertified the April 26 primary results, reporting a net gain of 40 votes for Sheila Dixon in the Democratic mayoral race, not enough to change the outcome of her challenge to state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh.
Pugh remains the primary winner, with about 2,400 more votes than Dixon.
The outcome of other contests, including several close City Council races, remains the same.
Under the watchful eye of the Maryland Election Board, city officials met today to review uncounted provisional ballots, deciding that some provisionals were to be accepted in full, some partially, and some rejected.
In all, 169 ballots were deemed eligible and added to the vote tally, which resulted in Dixon’s small net gain in votes.
The primary election results were re-certified at about 6:30 p.m. tonight.
State election officials ordered the city’s election results decertified earlier this month because of widespread reports about irregularities.
Aided by workers from across the state, a precinct-by-precinct review of voting materials was conducted at the city’s West Baltimore Voting Machine Warehouse.
The review focused on the unusually high disparity between the number of people who checked into the polls and the number that voted.
State officials said their review found 1,650 votes were handled improperly, mostly provisional ballots that were scanned without review to ensure that they represented eligible voters. A smaller number, 465 provisional ballots, were not considered at all.
Tonight’s recertification triggers a three-day period in which a candidate can ask for a recount. Candidates have one week to file a court challenge.
Speaking with The Brew, Armstead B.C. Jones, Sr., director of the Baltimore City Elections Board, said he was confident that election officials in Baltimore and Annapolis would take steps to prevent similar problems in the November General Election.
“I’m sure they will do something with the provisionals to make the process easier and better. And of course we’ll do more emphasizing and training on provisionals,” Jones said, adding that city election officials will await guidance by the state.
“Of course, until we find out what they may change,” he noted,”there’s no need for us training people and training them wrong.”
– Thomas Troy also contributed to this story.