Returns from Baltimore’s in-person voting on primary day were delayed about 24 hours Wednesday as election officials searched for missing flash drives containing vote totals for 12 city precincts.
Elections Director Armstead Jones said Wednesday the flash drives were not hand delivered to the central office Tuesday night as required. Staff searched for the drives as they processed election equipment returned from each of the city’s 296 precincts. Jones said the drives are sometimes tucked into cabinets or bags when equipment is returned.
Ultimately, 10 of the 12 missing drives were located, elections officials said Thursday. Votes for the remaining two precincts were downloaded directly from the ballot scanners where they were first recorded.
Most of the missing returns were posted online around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The final batch posted shortly before 9 p.m.
Elections officials did not specify which precincts were delayed, but incomplete returns for each legislative district gave a rough outline. District 40 in west central Baltimore had five outstanding precincts while District 45 in Northeast Baltimore had four. Districts 41, 43 and 46 all had one outstanding precinct.
Almost 96% of Baltimore’s primary day votes were counted by election night. However, some races including the heated contest for Baltimore state’s attorney remain too close to call due to at least 23,000 outstanding mail-in ballots yet to be counted. State law did not allow the canvass of mail-in ballots to begin before 10 a.m. Thursday.
Baltimore was one of five jurisdictions statewide that had precincts that were delayed in reporting. The city was the last to report Wednesday night.