State Board says only 150 voters were assigned to wrong districts in NE Baltimore
Clerical errors are being blamed for voters being assigned wrongly in the 43A and 45th legislative districts. UPDATE: Press conference scheduled Saturday morning by House Delegate Boyce and others.
Above: With early voting just two days away, some Baltimore voters have not received their mail-in and sample ballots yet. (Mark Reutter)
The number of city voters assigned to an incorrect legislative district in next month’s Baltimore primary – initially estimated in the low thousands by the director of the city elections board – has been drawn down to 150 voters, the State Board of Elections announced tonight.
A joint review by city and state officials found that 37 voters in Legislative District 45 were incorrectly placed in District 43A, and 113 voters in Legislative District 45 were wrongly placed in District 43A.
The review found no other instances of voters assigned to the wrong district.
“The redistricting process requires making manual changes in the database and, in this case, four streets were not moved after redistricting into the correct precinct, which impacted the legislative districts those precincts were in,” Nikki Charlson, deputy state elections administrator, told The Brew this evening.
Baltimore’s elections chief, Armstead B.C. Jones Sr., earlier told this website that he believed that “not a lot – a couple thousand voters” were impacted by wrong data entries.
UPDATE: Elizabeth Embry, a House of Delegates candidate for District 43A, and Delegates Del. Regina T. Boyce (D, 43) and Stephanie Smith (D, 45) have scheduled a 9 a.m. press conference on SATURDAY (June 18) to demand immediate corrective action for voters who received inaccurate mail-in ballots and “an explanation of how this mistake occurred and how extensive this issue is.”
The press conference will be held at 4500 Harford Road, according to Boyce and Embry.
Jones’ remark caused consternation among several candidates in the July 19 primary. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a thousand voters or one voter – the election has to be conducted accurately,” said Del. Regina T. Boyce (D, 43A).
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the state election officials to investigate the error and to issue a public notice to voters asking them to confirm their voting districts after the redistricting of the state’s legislative districts took effect this year.
Redistricting was at the heart of the erroneous entries in two precincts in the Lauraville-Arcadia area of northeast Baltimore, according to Charlson.
The state released the following addresses as impacted:
• 4200-4713 Elsrode Avenue, where voters were incorrectly placed in precinct 27-18 and are now in precinct 27-17.
• 2301-2303 Halcyon Avenue and 2305-2909 Halcyon Avenue, where voters were incorrectly in precinct 27-17 and are now in precinct 27-18.
• 4500-4523 Hampnett Avenue, where voters were incorrectly in precinct 27-17 and are now in precinct 27-18.
• 2401-2409 East Cold Spring Lane, where voters were incorrectly in precinct 27-18 and are now in precinct 27-17.
A Reporter’s Instincts
The errors were discovered after mail-in ballots were sent to voters this week. One Lauraville voter, Joan Jacobson, knew she was in District 43A, but was mailed an absentee ballot for District 45.
The retired Baltimore Sun reporter (and occasional Brew contributor) contacted the city elections board, who later confirmed the error to this website.
Charlson said the city then contacted the state board, and they jointly investigated the problem. They found that 37 voters on the above streets had received mail-in ballots for the wrong legislative districts.
The voter registration database was corrected today, and all 150 voters on the affected streets will be given new voter registration cards. Corrected mail-in ballots will also be distributed.
Charlson said that, following redistricting in Baltimore County, voters in four precincts had initially been assigned to wrong legislative districts.
But the errors were found and corrected, she said, before the primary ballots were mailed out by the county elections board.