By Doni Glover, Publisher
Unapologetically Black: Doni Glover Autobiography
Thursdays at Midnight on WEAA 88.9 FM
(BALTIMORE – June 3, 2020) – In the 2016 Baltimore Primary Election, there were 1,800 voting irregularities. Interestingly, there were a mere 200 in the 23 other Maryland jurisdictions combined. Odd, isn’t it?
The last primary was so bungled that the State Board of Elections – in unprecedented fashion – de-certified the election results in Baltimore City. This forced the City Board of Elections, under the guise of Armstead Jones, to recount the votes.
I remember it clearly. It was a very ugly time. Because of the nearly 2,000 errors, Hassan Giordano and I formed the ad hoc advocacy group, Voters Organized for the Integrity of City Elections (VOICE), to fight this. I just think that if the average person would have made these kinds of blunders on their 9-to-5, they’d be unemployed. They certainly wouldn’t be running the show the next time, at minimum.
Mind you, it was in that election that former Mayor Catherine Pugh had a riot outside of her West Baltimore office on Election Day. Hundreds of people showed up expecting to work. This was all a part of the “chicken box-gate” where supposed-Pugh volunteers were carted off to vote during their “training”, given a chicken box and a can of Coke.
They were promised jobs on Election Day. That never happened for many of them.
Critics argued that Pugh procured votes by giving the volunteers food.
In any event, Pugh won by about 2,000 votes.
It later came out – as VOICE also argued – that Pugh had taken illegal campaign contributions. We now know that she was breaking all kinds of laws in her quest to become mayor, including selling her “Healthy Holly” book for 6-figure checks. Further, we witnessed nearly the entire Democratic establishment in Maryland turn a blind eye. Not one of our beloved state legislators said a word.
Now, given all of that mess, one would think that Linda Lamone from the State Board and Jones would have gotten their act together by now. It’s only been four years, and no, no one expected COVID-19. However, they had one job to do! In any event, it was reported that many voters did not receive ballots in the mail. I even heard where dead people got ballots.
Well, there was no recourse in 2016 and I don’t expect anything to change this time either. Apparently, we are stuck on stupid.
Let me correct that: Former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith was, in fact, fined for loaning Pugh $100k, but that’s about it. In return, let me just add – Smith received a 6-figure no-show job at City Hall. Smith, interestingly, was also associated with a controversial PAC recently in support of Baltimore 2020 Mayoral candidate Mary Miller that targeted white voters only. News of this hit Miller’s campaign like a ton of bricks. After all, she thought she could woo Baltimore voters with pictures of former President Barack Obama. I’m not sure she got any points with that. Honestly, when we look around Baltimore – especially in the Black community – there is zero change. Any monies must have went downtown. So, how can Miller suggest otherwise? Even more, how can she even allude to institutional racism when she is clearly a part of that very problem?
So, here’s the issue I have with the 2020 election. Call me late. Cool. But, the ballots – it was revealed – were ordered late from an out-of-state vendor. Question: Can we print our own ballots in Maryland? Is there some kind of special paper that is only found elsewhere? Are Maryland vendors not smart enough to process voting paper? I’m big on business. And I’m also big on not losing business. To send our orders for ballots to another state has to take money out of a local company’s pocket. I’m just saying!
Anyway, here we go again. Only 6 polling locations were open yesterday. That’s like one poll for every 100,000 citizens. Some people had to wait over an hour to vote. Others were finished in a few minutes. I get it.
Although the Board of Elections had time to figure this all out, although they were questioned repeatedly by Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford during Board of Public Works sessions, although they should have learned from 2016 and that de-certified scenario – we’re right back where we started without an inch of progress. Personally, I cannot afford an employee that doesn’t perform. I’d immediately go out of business.
What I cannot for the life of me figure out, though, is why there is such glaring incompetency at our absolutely most sacred hour to participate in the Democratic process. If this were a red state, the mistakes made by the Board of Elections would clearly be classified as voter suppression. However, this is a blue state, and surely, that could never happen here. Right?