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Dixon holds onto lead in Baltimore mayor's race as partial results of primary voting are released

Talia Richman, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

BALTIMORE -- Partial in-person returns made public Wednesday in the Democratic mayoral primary in Baltimore showed former Mayor Sheila Dixon's lead holding at about 30%.

The state elections board released about 75,000 votes late Tuesday, counted from ballots that voters mailed in and dropped off before primary day. Those initial returns showed Dixon leading the crowded pack, followed by City Council President Brandon Scott with 24% and former U.S. Treasury official Mary Miller with 17%.

The release of about 3,800 returns Wednesday morning from ballots cast at six in-person voting centers did little to reshape the field.

Another approximately 1,000 additional ballots were cast in-person in the primary, with those returns yet to come. Also awaiting counting are ballots postmarked Tuesday, the last day voters could return them by bail, or deposited in official drop boxes on primary day. It's unknown how many remain outstanding as the state sent ballots to all eligible, registered voters to reduce the amount of in-person voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

About 133,000 people voted in the 2016 Democratic primary.

The initial release of in-person returns showed Dixon's strength extending into primary day, with her receiving at least another 1,356 votes.

Scott took 1,168 votes, while Miller trailed so far in in-person returns with 319. The returns show 364 people came to the polls to vote for former state Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah, who lagged in fourth place with about 12% of all votes counted so far. Incumbent Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young had 7%, while former Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith remained at 6%.

The first round of numbers, based on ballots mailed in and dropped off before primary day, were posted on the state elections board site Tuesday night after the polls closed. But they were removed around 2 a.m. and the state instead marked fields with "NR" for "Not Reported." The data returned a little before 11 a.m., accompanied by the initial batch of votes cast in person Tuesday.

Candidates questioned discrepancies in the process as they waited on results, which are scheduled to be certified by June 12.


The state elections board also announced Wednesday that an error on ballots mailed to voters in City Council District 1 led to inaccurate returns.

"I remain frustrated by the administrative challenges we've seen in this election and am calling for a transparent process moving forward," Scott said in a statement. "I'm concerned by the many Baltimoreans who report never receiving a ballot, some of whom were told they could not vote when they arrived at an in-person polling site. I'm also concerned that results were reported and then later removed with no explanation."

Miller's campaign released a statement Wednesday saying it was waiting to hear more amid the revelations of irregularities.

"While these are not the results we hoped, these preliminary results are just that, with perhaps a third of ballots not counted," the statement read.

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