Baltimore's election judges will be ferried to the polls by Yellow Cabs this fall, under an up-to-$30,000 deal approved by the city's Board of Estimates Thursday.

The contract was not competitively bid, but awarded to Yellow Cab because it is the "only known vendor that has the proven resources" to deliver the judges, according to the board's agenda.

Baltimore City Elections Board Chair Armstead B.C. Jones Sr. said that the cabs would wait outside board of elections offices near City Hall to take substitute judges to the polls during the September primary and November general election.

More than 2,000 election judges are hired to work the polls and 100 or more do not show up due to illness or other problems, Jones said. That's where the cabs come in — to rush the substitute judges to fill the vacancies, he said.

"The rush is really in preparation to make sure all these polling places are staffed and ready to open," Jones said.

The $30,000 award represents an upper limit, but the cab company will likely be paid less, he said.

Jones said the Board of Elections has contracted with Yellow Cab and the company is the only one with a large enough fleet to transport all the election judges.

"One year, a man did it who didn't have the proper equipment and dispatchers.... It was a disaster," he said. "I feel better in knowing that I can rely on a company that can get it done."

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

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