Vandana Rambaran on June 26, 2018
Nearly 80,000 voters in Maryland will need to file provisional ballots in Tuesday’s election primaries due to a programming glitch that failed to update voter information at the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), the Maryland State Board of Elections announced on Tuesday.
The mistake is a blunder that affects nearly four times as many voters in the state than the one originally reported by the Board of Elections on Sunday, where officials anticipated 18,700 people were affected.
“In our sense of urgency to inform the public given the close proximity of the primary election, the numbers that were initially reported did not accurately reflect the total scope of the people impacted,” MVA Administrator Christine Nizer said in the statement. “Upon further review and analysis, we discovered that the initial data provided did not include all those impacted.”
The Board of Elections is urging all voters who might have updated their addresses through the MVA’s website or self-service kiosks between April 22, 2017, and June 5, 2018, to contact the board and double-check that their party affiliations, addresses and voter information are updated in time to cast a ballot. They have sent nearly 74,000 email messages to the affected voters who had email addresses on file with the MVA, according to The Washington Post.
Democrats across Maryland are calling for Nizer to resign from the Board of Elections along with “anyone else who was part of the Hogan administration’s attempt to sweep this under the rug,” according to a joint statement issued by Democratic Sen. Joan Carter Conway and Democratic Delegate Anne R. Kaiser.
Democratic Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., a candidate in the gubernatorial race, agreed, calling the programming error a “catastrophic failure,” WaPo reported on Tuesday.
Current Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican in what is otherwise considered a deep blue state, will be a hard-to-beat rival by any Democrat in the upcoming gubernatorial race in November.
“What matters most is that every single voter will be able to vote, and every vote will be counted,” Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Hogan, said to WaPo on Tuesday, denying that his administration had anything to do with the glitch and reminding voters that the Board of Elections is an independent operation.
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