I was astounded to see that Baltimore's sample ballot for the primary election lists the candidates in alphabetical order. There have been numerous studies showing that those listed at the top of the ballot for any office will receive more votes than those listed farther down.

Some jurisdictions require the names be randomized, but not Maryland. Thus, of the close, essentially two-person Democratic U.S. Senate primary, Rep. Donna Edwards is listed second and Rep. Chris Van Hollen ninth of 10 candidates. Of 13 Baltimore mayoral candidates, Sheila Dixon is third, Catherine E. Pugh eighth. Although candidates Mac Clifton and Gersham Cupid seem unlikely to win despite their listing at the top, the order certainly disadvantages Carl Stokes and the four candidates whose last names begin with W or Y.

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Michael S. Franch, Baltimore

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