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Politicsby Ian Round7:17 pmJun 2, 20200

They got their ballots, but the ballots were wrong

Above: Residents at the Remington Row apartment complex in North Baltimore were mailed the wrong primary ballot, state elections officials acknowledge. (Brew file photo)

Residents of Remington Row, an upscale apartment building in North Baltimore, have cast their ballots in the 12th City Council District for years.

But the ballots they received two weekends ago were for the 14th.

Expecting to decide on the future of 12th District incumbent Robert Stokes Sr., the residents instead received a ballot with names they didn’t recognize.

The building’s address is in the 14th District in the Maryland State Board of Elections (SBE) system, according to Mary Cramer-Wagner, Baltimore City’s director of voter registration and petitions.

But the address clearly lies in the 12th District on CityView.

Asked about the discrepancy, Cramer-Wagner said, “I don’t know. Nothing is jumping out at me. I wish I could crack this case for you, dear.”

Stokes and the Baltimore City Board of Elections could not be reached for comment.

Arm Twisting for Answers

It took resident Aden Weisel a lot of last-minute arm-twisting to get an answer from the Maryland elections board.

SBE deputy director Abigail Goldman told her on Monday that there was nothing she could do.

Weisel said the ordeal left her feeling disenfranchised. “It was a very gaslighting experience,” said the 29-year-old curator. “They were not offering any proof or any reasoning, just saying, ‘That’s what the system says.’”

But later on Monday, Weisel said the agency told her it would provide corrected provisional ballots and would investigate the error.

The provisional ballots would be available at Northwood Elementary School, at 5201 Loch Raven Boulevard, today.

The agency hand-delivered corrected ballots to Weisel, who is immunocompromised and can’t leave her apartment, and to her partner.

“I have no clue if our ballots will be counted,” Weisel told The Brew before she heard about the provisional ballots. “I actually have no clue if I have committed voter fraud!”

“Who else is disenfranchised?”

Weisel, who is white, expressed concern that if the system isn’t serving her, it must not be serving many other residents.

“If we’re potentially disenfranchised, who else is being disenfranchised in this majority-black city?” she said.

Phong Le, president of the Greater Remington Improvement Association, emailed the apartment building’s management, asking them to spread the word.

“It is hard to gauge the impact of this error,” said Le. “I’d just like to do what little we can at the last minute to help people actually vote for the correct City Council person who will be representing them.”

What does this mean for Remington Row residents who already cast 14th District ballots? It is unlikely they’ll get a do-over.

What does this mean for Remington Row residents who’ve already cast their incorrect 14th District ballots?

Unfortunately, they likely won’t get a do-over, and it’s possible their first ballots will not be counted given that they voted for a candidate who wouldn’t represent them.

Phillip Westry, Stokes’s top challenger in the 12th District, said he heard about the issue Monday evening. He said his campaign has been reaching out to those voters.

“I mean this is prime for a lawsuit, right?” said Westry, a public interest lawyer. “We’re disappointed, but there’s not a lot we can do about it.”

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