State Roundup: Elections officials under fire for faulty returns; Phase 2 of reopening

State Roundup: Elections officials under fire for faulty returns; Phase 2 of reopening

In June, a block of West Street in Annapolis was closed to traffic as restaurants prepared for outdoor dining. photo by Len Lazarick

PROBLEMS PLAGUE ELECTION RETURNS: Election results vanished from the state website. Officials discovered ballots misprinted. One candidate for mayor sent in his lawyer. Wednesday brought a rocky start to the canvass that should reveal Baltimore’s next mayor. By the afternoon, state lawmakers and the governor demanded elections administrators explain themselves, reports Tim Prudente in the Sun.

  • Former mayor Sheila Dixon held a modest lead in the Baltimore city mayor’s race, followed by City Council President Brandon Scott and former Treasury Department official Mary Miller. But with thousands of uncounted votes remaining — and mail-in votes accepted through June 12, as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday — no one was declaring victory or conceding defeat, Paul Schwartzman and Jenna Portnoy of the Post are reporting.
  • As tallies of votes counted trickled out in the Baltimore mayoral primary, consternation among candidates and state and local officials mounted, leading them to demand answers and accountability from elections administrators, Emily Opilo, Talia Richman and Phil Davis report in the Sun.
  • Bizarre early vote returns came in for at least one race in Baltimore city, Adam Pagnucco of Seventh State reports.
  • Here are the Sun’s latest updates in the Tuesday’s primary elections, with Sheila Dixon still in the lead for mayor of Baltimore city and Kweisi Mfume still leading for the House of Representatives.Adam Bednar of the Daily Record reports that by Wednesday afternoon Dixon had earned 30% of ballots in the mayor’s race.
  • Rachel Aragon offers an update this morning on the primary races for WBFF-TV.

RUTHERFORD CALLS FOR LAMONE’s RESIGNATION: The State Board of Elections has issued the statement below on vote counting problems in the City of Baltimore’s Council District 1. At the same time, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford called on State Board of Elections administrator Linda Lamone to resign, Adam Panucco of Seventh State reports.

  • If Maryland elections administrator Linda H. Lamone seemed unperturbed by calls to resign in the wake of ballot errors and on-again, off-again reporting of returns from Tuesday’s primary election, it might be because she’s survived worse over the course of her 23-year tenure, Jean Marbella of the Sun writes.
  • Comptroller Peter Franchot also called on Lamone and Baltimore City Elections Director Armstead Jones Sr. to quit, Bryan Sears writes in the Daily Record.

PHASE 2 OF REOPENING BEGINS FRIDAY: Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that the state’s fight against the coronavirus has progressed to a point at which the order he issued on March 23 requiring the closure of all non-essential businesses will be lifted Friday evening, reports Bryan Renbaum for MarylandReporter.

  • Hogan is putting the state into the beginning of the second phase of his three-phase reopening plan, outlined in his “Maryland Strong Roadmap for Recovery,” report Pamela Wood and Hallie Miller for the Sun.
  • Colin Campbell writes in the Sun that tattoo and massage parlors, tanning and nail salons and many other nonessential Maryland businesses can welcome back customers beginning this weekend — but only by appointment and at no more than 50% capacity. What else can you expect in Phase 2?
  • Businesses that can reopen include, but are not limited to: large and small retail shops, specialty vendors, wholesalers, warehouses, banks, real estate offices, travel agencies, auto dealers, tattoo parlors and auto showrooms, Steve Bohnel of the Frederick News-Post reports.
  • Here’s Kate Amara’s report for WBAL-TV.
  • State health officials also warned on Wednesday that there will likely be a second wave of COVID-19 cases this fall, and maybe even a third wave and a fourth, Rachel Baye of WYPR-FM reports.

Much of Main Street in Annapolis is closed so restaurants can offer outdoor dining. photo by Len Lazarick

PEACEFUL PROTESTS CONTINUE: Baltimore is showing the nation how to peacefully protest the police killing of George Floyd, Bryan Renbaumn writes in MarylandReporter. Whereas protests over Floyd’s death in other cities throughout the nation have resulted in large-scale looting and contentious encounters with police — Baltimore has thus far largely avoided major incidents of violence and when incidents were about to erupt, Baltimore residents worked with police to calm the streets.

  • In public displays pushing against racism, a pair of protests have been organized on a near-daily basis this week in Westminster and Sykesville. Akira Kyles of the Carroll County Times reports.
  • For the second straight night, protesters gathered at the Square Corner in downtown Frederick to speak out against racial inequality, police brutality and the death of George Floyd, Erika Riley of the Frederick News-Post reports.

HEALTH OFFICIALS WORRY OVER PROTESTS & COVID-19: Caitlyn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat that Montgomery County Chief Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles says that large-scale protests in response to the death of George Floyd could lead to a spike in local COVID-19 cases and complicate the county’s contact tracing efforts.

RUTHERFORD CALLS FLOYD DEATH ‘INDEFENSIBLE MURDER:’ Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R) said Wednesday that the “indefensible murder” of George Floyd, and the nationwide protests that followed, signal it is time for the country to examine the racism “that exists just under the surface of many institutions,” Erin Cox of the Post reports.

LOW VOTER TURNOUT IN FREDERICK: More than 46,000 ballots have been cast in Frederick County for the presidential primary election through mid-day Wednesday. Election Director Stuart Harvey said it is unlikely Frederick County voters will reach the turnout level from the 2016 primary, where 63,615 of 159,513 registered county voters cast a ballot, or 39.88%, Steve Bohnel of the Frederick News Post reports.

GROUP SEEKS TO CUT AIR POLLUTION: The Ozone Transport Commission has voted to advance a petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that could help reduce air pollution in Maryland from upwind sources, McKenna Oxenden of the Sun reports.

RED MARYLAND ENDS RUN: Red Maryland, the conservative commentary blog and podcast producer, will be signing off at the conclusion of tonight’s final podcast. You can access “Red Maryland: The Final Episode” at 8 p.m. at Red Maryland Network and Facebook Live.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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