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More news on marriage equality ballot problems in Maryland

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Yesterday, I wrote about an NBC Washington News4 report that some absentee ballots being sent to Maryland voters are missing the page which contains all the state ballot measures up for a vote this November, among them Question 6, which would affirm marriage equality legislation passed earlier this year.  As I wrote:

“Ross Goldstein, deputy administrator of the Maryland Board of Elections, confirmed that a number of absentee ballots in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County are indeed missing the second page, but told News4 that Maryland is investigating the issue and believes the number of incorrect ballots is small.  Maryland residents who have received an incorrect ballot should contact their local election board: in Prince George’s County, the number is 301-430-8020.  In Montgomery County, it’s 240-777-8550.”

Yesterday evening, Metro Weekly reported on the matter, including in its article the following statement from Josh Levin, the campaign manager or Marylanders for Marriage Equality:

“We’re looking into this matter and taking it seriously.  Every registered voter must have the same opportunity to participate in the electoral process. We’re confident the board of elections will get to the bottom of this quickly and resolve it.”

The Maryland campaign also emailed voters instructing them to call 800-222-8683 to request replacement ballots should they receive one that contains errors or omissions.  Metro Weekly went on to mention another ballot issue from Silver Spring, first reported by WUSA9 regarding a problem with the Spanish-language summary of Question 6:

In the Spanish summary, one word was mistranslated to read that the measure would amend current law, which its says already allows same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses. The language would seem to imply that a “no” vote would allow marriage equality to continue to be law in Maryland, when in fact it would prevent gay and lesbian couples from being able to marry.

Goldstein apologized for the translation error, but noted that the error was only in the explanation. He told WUSA that the actual ballot language for the measure was correctly translated into Spanish.

Although none of these issues look widespread or extremely significant, it’s important to follow them as we move closer to the election.  If you live in Maryland or know of anyone having a problem with their ballots, let us know in the comments!


  • 1. Seth from Maryland  |  October 26, 2012 at 10:04 am

    UGH , I can't believe this , i don't know what the hell is going on , this needs to investgated

  • 2. Brenda  |  October 26, 2012 at 10:21 am

    First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. -Ghandi

  • 3. chris  |  October 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Folks this is scary. When both "mistakes"-the missing page AND the misleading spanish ballot HELP the side against marriage equality, there is clear evidence of willful fraud.

  • 4. Mike in Baltimore  |  October 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    The Governor (who is a Democrat) helped push the bill through the state legislature is "clear evidence of willful fraud"? Remember, Governor O'Malley recently was one of many headliners at a fundraiser FOR Maryland's Prop 6 in New York City, and is appearing throughout the state in support of the passage of marriage equality.

    The Lt. Gov. (who appeared in ads to get the bill through the state legislature and personally lobbied the members of the state legislature) is registered as a Democrat. And that is "clear evidence of willful fraud"?

    When EVERY elected official in the state elected on a state-wide basis (including BOTH US Senators) are registered as Democrats, that is "clear evidence of willful fraud"?

    When the state legislature (both chambers overwhelmingly populated by members who are registered as Democrats) passed the marriage equality bill, and almost all who voted FOR marriage equality are very active in support of Prop 6 means that they are participating in "willful fraud"?

    Humans make mistakes, and mistakes were made. But to say that it is "clear evidence of willful fraud" is a VERY clear indication that you have NO knowledge of the politics of the state of Maryland. If it were a case of "willful fraud", do you think there would be comments coming from MULTIPLE persons in the state government? And actions being taken to correct those problems?

    And remember, MOST who vote by absentee ballot are Republicans (in the state of Maryland AND nationwide), and polls have shown that the majority of anti-marriage equality votes will come from Republicans. So who is being hurt more, those for marriage equality, or those against marriage equality?

  • 5. Deeelaaach  |  October 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I wouldn't declare willful fraud, but I have to ask the question – who prints ballots and who translates them in Maryland? If it's like other states, the secretary of state has a hand in it, but translators? Who takes care of that? I'm only comfortable saying that it seems an odd coincidence that both thing occur on the same proposition – missing page and a confusing mistranslation. I really hope – and I'd really like to believe that it's just that – an odd coincidence.

    And for the record, I've never lived anywhere in or even near Maryland, though I visited it once for a few days but got to see nothing – Malvo and Mohammed went on their spree in the area I was (Rockville I think), the day after I arrived. I hunkered down in my motel when I wasn't working at our satellite office. I'd like to return someday – to see it for real this time!

  • 6. Seth from Maryland  |  October 26, 2012 at 11:48 am

    an now theres a hurricane coming in a few days that could have direct hit in Maryland , who know what impact this will have in the election

  • 7. Mike in Baltimore  |  October 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    The latest information I've heard is that in Montgomery and PG Counties (combined population of more than 1,800,000 [and more than 810,000 ballots cast in 2008, with that number expected to be higher in 2012]) a grand total of 15 (FIFTEEN) absentee ballots were sent missing page two. That is the equivalent of one absentee ballot per more than 54,000 ballots cast.

    Historically, it is the GOP that votes in much greater numbers by absentee ballots (and Maryland is no exception to that), and the polls have found that the greatest percentage of people who will vote against marriage equality is from the GOP. In PG County, about 2/3 of the population is African-American, and about 75% of the population is registered as Democrat. And in 2008, Montgomery County voted almost 3-1 FOR Democratic candidates and issues. In fact, some of MoCo (as the locals call Montgomery County) was placed in Congressional District 6 in an attempt to dislodge Congressman Bartlett (GOTP, and a Tea Party favorite).

    VERY much ado about nothing, IMO. I suspect that many more than 15 people will simply ignore some or all of the proposition questions. The SFBC had more incidents of the publisher incorrectly printing a single book and sending it to members when one of the Asimov books was printed several years ago.

    Instead of concentrating on the just over a dozen ballots that were not printed correctly, maybe some of that effort can go into 30 people spending time trying to change the opinion of those who currently are leaning towards voting anti-equal marriage.

  • 8. Straight Ally #3008  |  October 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Right. "Errors."

  • 9. Alyson  |  October 26, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I'm more worried about nationwide voting machine fraud. This suddenly doesn't seem that out there. Easier to sway an election on a large scale. How do we address this?

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