The county Board of Elections investigated claims Tuesday that some voters in Congressional District 6 were given District 8 ballots.
An administrative error in the county’s “street files” assigned some voters in District 6 to a polling location in District 8, Election Director Stuart Harvey said at 5 p.m. The board is contacting eight affected voters, who will be given the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot in the correct district.
“We are sincerely sorry to the voters for the error,” Harvey said.
The congressional boundary runs behind Michael Aleo’s house in the Lake Linganore development where he has lived for six years. He knows he is a District 6 voter, but he was given a District 8 ballot Tuesday morning that he filled out and submitted before he realized the error.
“We realized — a bunch of neighbors realized — we were all given District 8 ballots,” said Aleo, who contacted The Frederick News-Post about the problem early Tuesday afternoon.
Aleo voted at Oakdale Elementary School in District 8 when he should have been assigned to the Mount Pleasant Ruritan Club. He contacted the state Board of Elections, but he was told he could not change his vote.
Nevertheless, people affected by the error such as Aleo will be able to return to the Mount Pleasant Ruritan Club and cast a provisional ballot for the correct district. All provisional ballots will be reviewed during the canvass and evaluated on a number of factors, Harvey said.
In total, 73 registered voters live in the area affected by the error, but the county Board of Elections determined only eight had cast ballots before the error was fixed. Subsequent voters were given the correct ballot, Harvey said.
Aleo planned to vote for Democratic candidate David Trone in the U.S. House of Representatives District 6 race, however, he was unable to after receiving the incorrect ballot. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8th) was on his ballot instead.
“I wanted to vote for Trone,” he said.
The error did not keep Aleo from voting in any other local or state elections.
“Everything else was normal. It’s just hindsight,” Aleo said.
About 200 voters in Frederick County were not marked as having cast a ballot at their early voting location.
The Maryland State Board of Elections knows who the voters are and provided a list of names to election judges before polls opened on Tuesday, Harvey said. The aim is to keep these voters from voting twice.
About 5,500 early and absentee voters across the state were affected by the error, which was identified by the state on Saturday morning, said Deputy State Administrator Nikki Charlson at the state Board of Elections. The cause was “human error” and appears to be related to the transfer of data between state systems, she said.
“We’ve just been focusing on putting procedures in place, if the voters — in the unlikely event — show up, [and] are given provisional ballots,” Charlson said.
The state will not know if anyone has voted twice until Wednesday, she said. But because the voters will cast provisional ballots, the local election boards will be able to research and reject any ballot if someone has voted more than once.
Voters who cast more than one ballot will be sent to the Maryland State Prosecutor’s Office for review, she said.
In Frederick County, the voters affected were scattered across multiple precincts, Harvey said.
With about three hours left to vote, Harvey was not aware of any other troubles at the polls.
“Nothing I know of,” Harvey said.