Baltimore Mayor Pugh calls for review of Election Day problems at polling places

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday that she was concerned about reports of vermin-infested polling places and late openings on Election Day.

“Our whole election process needs to be reviewed,” Pugh told reporters at her regular news conference. “This is to me one of our just great rights and that is to go and vote, to vote who we want into office and we should not have facilities where we're dealing with rats and mice.”

Elections director Armstead B. C. Jones Sr. said on Tuesday that he began hearing reports of mice and fleas at Patapsco Elementary/Middle School in Cherry Hill in the early afternoon. He considered sending an exterminator but then decided to move the polling place instead.

Another polling location in Baltimore opened late and was ordered to stay open for an extra hour by a judge, delaying early reports of results statewide.

“When we say it opens at 7 a.m., it opens at 7 a.m,” Pugh said.

Jones could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The problems began before Election Day, when the Motor Vehicle Administration announced that some 80,000 voters’ information had not been properly updated, meaning they would have to cast provisional ballots.

But compared with 2016, the reported problems in Baltimore were mild. That year, state elections officials stepped in to decertify the results and conducted a review that found 1,650 provisional ballots had been handled incorrectly.

Elections in the city are run by a five-member board appointed by the governor.

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