Election board has final review before primary CAMPAIGN 1995

September 11, 1995|By Timothy B. Wheeler | Timothy B. Wheeler,Sun Staff Writer

Striving to avoid the disputes that erupted after last year's gubernatorial vote, the Baltimore election board met last night for a final review of preparations for tomorrow's municipal primary election.

"We're ready," said Barbara Jackson, the city election administrator, who nevertheless admitted that she was "concerned" and "nervous" because of the criticism directed at her and her office in last November's bitterly contested gubernatorial election.

A state prosecutor's investigation found no fraud, but cited errors, negligence and "outright incompetency" in the handling of the balloting.

There are 315,222 voters registered to cast ballots tomorrow in the races for mayor, comptroller, president and members of the City Council.

Ms. Jackson said there has been "a great demand" for absentee ballots, but that fewer have been returned -- in part because of the election office's insistence the ballots be accompanied by a sworn affidavit, rather than merely a letter indicating the voter's inability to cast a ballot in person.

City election officials were accused last fall of accepting improper absentee ballots.

Board members expressed concern about a letter mailed last week to Republican election judges by the Maryland Republican Party urging them to report any irregularities to the party office, rather than to city election officials. Marvin Cheatham, the board's president, said he appreciated the intent of the letter, but objected to some of the language and instructions.

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