Harford election directors put on administrative leave, acting director in place

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Harford County’s elections agency was under the leadership of an acting director as voters across the county went to the polls Tuesday, since the veteran elections director and deputy director had been put on administrative leave nearly a week before.

“The elections board is confident that the election is operating smoothly,” Cynthia Allred, the acting director and the secretary of the Board of Elections, said late Tuesday morning.

Director Kevin Keene and Deputy Director Dale Livingston had been put on paid administrative leave effective Oct. 31, Allred said. She became acting director effective the next day, the same day early voting ended in Harford County and across the state.

“They’re on paid leave,” William G. Christoforo Jr., president of the Harford County Board of Elections, said Tuesday afternoon.

The move, he said, “was done at the local level,” adding “I’m not going to comment further.”

Keene and Livingston “are not county employees. They are under the authority of the Harford County Board of Elections,” Cindy Mumby, a county government spokeswoman, wrote in an email Monday night. “That board is appointed by the governor and board members are listed on their website.”

Allred, who said no acting deputy director is in place “at this time,” declined to provide further information on why Keene and Livingston are on leave, or who had made the decision to put them on leave. She reiterated the local board’s confidence that the election would run smoothly.

“The Election Board is a bi-partisan team of five members appointed by the Governor,” according to its website. “They serve a four year term that starts the first Monday in June of the year following a Gubernatorial Election.”

In addition to Christoforo, the president and a Republican, and Allred, the secretary and a Republican, the other three members are Allison W. McCord, vice president and a Republican, Maria Terry, a Democrat, and Carol Bruce, a Democrat.

Nearly 36,000 people, or 19.95 percent of Harford’s 180,209 active registered voters, had cast a ballot during the seven-day early voting period, according to Maryland State Board of Elections data.

Voters fanned out across the county to 61 polling places during Election Day Tuesday.

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