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Mail-in ballot results should be reported by precinct | READER COMMENTARY

John Harris of Ellicott City drops off his primary election ballot at an official ballot drop box by the Meadowbrook Park Athletic Complex in Ellicott City on Saturday, May 23.
John Harris of Ellicott City drops off his primary election ballot at an official ballot drop box by the Meadowbrook Park Athletic Complex in Ellicott City on Saturday, May 23. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The coronavirus pandemic required the Maryland State Board of Elections on short notice to implement a vote by mail election for the April 28 congressional election and the June 2 primary election (“Baltimore elections office to close early on the eve of Tuesday’s primary amid protests,” June 1). The program did not permit the reporting of election results by precinct as has previously been the case.

Reporting results by precinct is important for transparency and public confidence in our electoral system. Any suspicious variation in electoral results would most likely be apparent in precinct reported results rather than in results reported from larger pooled data from counties. Confidence in our electoral system is critical to a functioning democracy.

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As the elections board works to refine our vote by mail system, our elected representatives should mandate that it be designed to report results by precinct. If there are costs to implementing the mandate they will probably be more than covered by decreased costs of reducing the need for multiple early voting stations.

Kenneth B. Lewis, M.D., Cockeysville

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