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Write-In Votes Put State's New Voting System To The Test

BALTIMORE (WJZ) --  It's just days until voters will be deciding who will take over several key positions in the city. Early voting ended Thursday night and Baltimore City had the fourth highest early voting turnout numbers in the state.

And, with four people vying for the mayor's seat, one of which is a write-in campaign, write-in votes are putting the state's new voting system to the test.

66,000 city residents cast ballots in the eight-day early voting period, nearly half as many as voted in the Baltimore primary.

"We want voters this year to run to the polls, and vote this year like they've never voted before " said Bob Ross, with the NAACP.

With a state-wide focus on Election Day turnout, Baltimore could see even higher numbers. In the mayor's race an unprecedented number of write-in votes, thanks to  supporter of former mayor Sheila Dixon, hoping to beat the odds and write her into another term as mayor.

Dixon cast her ballot on Thursday and she isn't the only write-in. There are write-in candidates in virtually all races in the state, and there's a new procedure for counting them.

"We have received directions from the state on how all local boards should count write-in ballots. We will be extracting them from the memory sticks to a spreadsheet. There we will see an image -- we don't know what that image is until we see exactly pull it up," said Armstead Jones, Baltimore Elections Director.

The written names will appear and counted by hand. As of now, the Board of Elections has no idea how many ballots have write-in candidates. The count begins on Election Day.

There will be local oversight to see that the write-ins are counted correctly and state officials will also be monitoring for any signs of voter fraud.

There are also write-ins for President, US Senate, and the House of Representatives.


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