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Election Officials Blame Vendor For Maryland Primary Ballot, Voting Issues

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Election officials were grilled with questions about issues during the state's June 2 primary that lead to long lines for voting, major delays on results and more.

Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone along with the state election board made a presentation to the general assembly's Ways and Means and the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committees about what led to some of the problems.

Lammone and the state board put much of the blame on the vendor who printed and sent the mail-in ballots. They said the vendor told them ballots were in the mail, when they weren't and once the board learned about the issues they tried to resolve it, but some ballots were never delivered.

"If we had known sooner, we would have done something sooner, but when we found out about it we acted on it, and we got the problem solved as best we could," Lammone said.

The state board of elections could not comment on whether the state would be suing the vendor, citing they couldn't comment on potential litigation, however they said they would not be using them again in November.

The election board said six vendors have submitted test ballots and they will look for a new mail house. The board said it will be learning from what happened during the primary and listening to voters and other groups and organizations on how to make it better.

Delegate Nick Mosby was critical of the state board's lack of communication and transparency, citing how the Election Night results were pulled from the website without explanation.

"I agree with you totally," Lammone said. "We'll make sure it never happens again."

State Senator Mary Washington asked the board what, if anything, they would be taking responsibility for.

"At some point…the buck stops with you," Washington said.

Board Chair Michael Cogan responded: "When we know there's been a problem, then those are addressed in the board meeting. We want to know, 'Why did this happen?'"

A majority of the issues were reported in Baltimore's District 1 where misprinted ballots created major delays in counting votes, which then in turn created delays for the results. There were also long lines reported in Baltimore City because residents said they never received their ballots.

Baltimore Elections Director Armstead Jones said there were issues with getting voter's ballots to the right addresses. Jones acknowledged voters were in line, but most of them seemed "very content."

"We have a major problem here in the city with ballots that were undeliverable," he said.

Frederick County Elections Director Stuart Harvey said ballot drop boxes were "wildly successful" and he's like to see them in the future.

Rewatch the presentation here or on YouTube

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