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Baltimore's voter suppression

The issue of voting irregularities and the reality of voter suppression are as evident in today's electoral process as they were in era of Jim Crow — as Baltimore City witnessed during the recent primary election ("Baltimore election chief defends primary process amid criticism," May 2).

And while certain media outlets, journalists and supporters of Sen. Catherine Pugh would love nothing better than to taint the process of ensuring every vote was indeed accounted for by articulating a false narrative that those responsible for asking the tough questions are somehow all attached to the Sheila Dixon campaign, even the most naive voter in this city understands that the level of accusations being levied against the local board of elections is both frightening and undoubtedly concerning. So here is a glimpse into the broader picture of the actual voters adversely affected by the gross negligence of the city's election board crew.

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Kennedi Peacock, 18, a Western High School senior, was hired by the Dixon for Mayor campaign to work the Jewish Community Center polling location in Northwest Baltimore but was allowed to work as an election judge upon arrival, working the DS-200 ballot scanning machine even though she was never hired, trained or certified to do such by the board.

Antonio Glover, another Dixon for Mayor poll worker at Langston Hughes Elementary, was brought in by election judges to help assist in their efforts on Election Day before a Dixon precinct captain caught the error and pulled him out to work the poll on behalf of the mayoral candidate, after working as an unauthorized election judge for hours.

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How about Janice Dixon, sister of mayoral candidate Sheila Dixon, who had to vote provisionally on Election Day because someone fraudulently voted in her name during early voting? What about District 12 City Council candidate Ertha Harris who was told she was not a voter and couldn't be found in the voter rolls even though she was a candidate whose name appeared on the ballot in front of the election judges denying her right to vote?

We have photo proof of an unaffiliated voter at School No. 83 in East Baltimore who was given a Republican ballot by an election judge and allowed to vote in a closed primary where independent and third party voters are excluded. How about the numerous voters in Northwest Baltimore who were given wrong district ballots, such as Pamela Curtis-Massey who was offered a District 5 ballot even though she lived in District 6 and informed election judges numerous times they were wrong?

We know that roughly three dozen former felons who were given their right to vote back earlier this year who were improperly sent rejection letters while numerous others were told in the current voter registration form that they are excluded from registering to vote because they were a convicted felon — which still remains the language on the state's registration forms even though the law has been changed.

So some can continue trying to diminish the severity of these actions — which includes a dozen late opening polls and missing flash drives with a clear breach in the chain of custody regarding the handling of these votes — and trying to make this a Pugh versus Dixon thing. However, the facts are the facts, and when the light is shown on the truth, no amount of slanted journalism or skewed assumptions will ever be able to hide the fact that the cumulative effect of all these irregularities amounts to a certain level of voter suppression — well beyond the magnitude of a robo-call to a few hundred voters on the night of an election.

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Hassan Giordano, Baltimore

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