Up to 80,000 people in Maryland may have to file provisional ballots during today’s primary elections because of a system glitch. Officials want voters to know that despite the issues, registered voters’ ballots will still be counted, even if they are provisional. But if you want to make sure that yours is indeed counted, there’s a way to do that. Read on for more details.
A glitch is affecting voters who updated their voter information on the Motor Vehicle Administration’s website or self-service kiosks between April 22, 2017 and June 5, 2018. Many of these people’s updates were never actually sent on to the Maryland State Board of Elections. As a result, affected voters will have to cast provisional ballots today, WBAL TV reported. If you want to know if your provisional vote was counted, visit the Maryland Voter Lookup website here.
Although verified provisional ballots are ultimately counted, the issue for some voters is that they aren’t counted on election night, and they require more scrutiny before they’re counted. The results of today’s primaries will still be announced, even before the up to 80,000 provisional ballots are counted. This could affect the outcome of a race that’s very close. Even if the ballots won’t affect the race, they’ll still be counted.
Affected voters will be directed to a provisional voting table, where they’ll fill out a form and then be given a ballot by an election judge. The ballot is put into an envelope and locked in a security bag, WTOP reported. Two election judges transport the bags.
Remember, if you want to know if your provisional vote was counted, you can find out by visiting the Maryland Voter Lookup website here. You’ll need to fill in your first name, last name, date of birth, and ZIP code to search. The website is updated daily. If your provisional ballot isn’t counted, the website will tell you why. But keep in mind that you won’t be able to find out today. According to the State Board of Elections, you won’t be able to find out if your vote was counted until 10 days after the election. Local election boards are required by law to begin counting the provisional ballots around July 5, The Baltimore Sun reported. It’s a slow process to count them, and they’re only counted once it’s verified that the provisional voter is registered and eligible to vote in Maryland.
This isn’t the first time in an election that provisional ballots have caused some controversy. They were a huge issue for many voters during the 2016 primaries. Back in June 2016, there was some question as to whether provisional ballots might flip California from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders (they didn’t.) And in the New York primary in 2016, provisional ballots were hugely controversial. It happened again in California this month, when a printing error left 119,000 names off the voting rosters in LA County, forcing some voters to use provisional ballots. Antonio R. Villaraigosa, a Democratic candidate for governor, had asked to keep the polls open until Friday because of the error, before conceding the race.
Other issues also affected Maryland’s primary today. There were early morning issues at two polling places, AP reported, but they were later resolved. In one Baltimore location, the machines weren’t set up on time, causing a delay. And a ballot scanner at Medfield Heights Elementary wasn’t working right, the Baltimore Sun reported. There were also a few last-minute voting location changes that confused some voters.