Baltimore primary results decertified, irregularities cited

Sait Serkan Gurbuz—X03341
State Senator Catherine Pugh speaks near City Hall in Baltimore May 2

BALTIMORE — Results of Baltimore’s Democratic primary election were ordered decertified Thursday by the Maryland elections board, which cited irregularities in the April 26 vote that may have influenced a tight mayoral race. The state panel will begin a precinct-by-precinct review of voting in the overwhelming Democratic city. The Baltimore elections board will pull its certification this evening, state board administrator Linda Lamone said. The state review could cast doubt on the narrow victory by Catherine Pugh, a Maryland state senator, in the primary where she defeated former Mayor Sheila Dixon. Pugh had backed law enforcement reform as Baltimore recovers from April 2015 rioting sparked the death of Freddie Gray from an injury in police custody. Three City Council races were determined by a few hundred votes. Lamone said officials found 80 provisional ballots that had not been checked to see whether they were cast in the right precinct or the voters were registered. Unusually high numbers of voters also checked in at polling places but never cast ballots, she said. That issue was not cleared up when the city board certified the election this week. “There were enough discrepancies in that reconciliation (on the number of voters) that made me determine we need to review everything more,” Lamone said. A group of activists questioned the fairness of the election. Victory in the Democratic primary means an almost certain win in the November general election.