Count keeps Wynn in lead

Provisional ballots decide 2 primaries for state delegate

Maryland Votes 2006

September 23, 2006|By Sumathi Reddy | Sumathi Reddy,sun reporter

Seven-term incumbent Rep. Albert R. Wynn appeared to be the victor in the closely fought 4th Congressional District Democratic primary yesterday as local election officials inched closer to tallying the final provisional ballots.

Wynn was ahead of Donna Edwards by 2,708 votes, according to unofficial results.

The Prince George's County Board of Elections completed counting its provisional ballots. The Montgomery County Board of Elections had counted 9,945 provisional ballots of an estimated 10,000 to 12,000. They were set to reconvene today.

The 4th District includes portions of both counties.

Local election officials also completed counting provisional ballots in Baltimore and Harford counties, and the Democratic nominees for two House of Delegates seats emerged. In the District 11 House of Delegates race in Baltimore County, Dana M. Stein edged out Richard M. Yaffe by 190 votes, according to completed but unofficial results.

Stein, along with incumbent Democrats Jon S. Cardin - the nephew of the party's U.S. Senate nominee, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin - and Dan K. Morhaim, will advance to the Nov. 7 election, where they will face two Republicans, Patrick Abbondandolo and Patrick V. Dyer.

In the Democratic primary in House of Delegates District 7 - straddling Baltimore and Harford counties - Rebecca L. Nelson beat James G. Stavropoulos Jr. by 292 votes.

She will advance to the general election with the top two vote-getters, Linda W. Hart and Jack R. Sturgill Jr., where they will face Republican incumbents Rick Impallaria, Pat McDonough and J.B. Jennings.

Provisional ballots, cast on paper, became a factor in this year's primary when malfunctions in the state's new electronic voting machines forced many precincts to rely on them.

The sealed ballots are reviewed to make sure each name is a registered voter. Accepted ballots are then fed into an optical scanner for counting.

Diebold Election Systems Inc., the manufacturer of the state's check-in machines, known as e-poll books, faces a Wednesday deadline to provide state officials with a report detailing the steps taken to correct the problems.

In a letter sent to the Board of Public Works, state elections chief Linda H. Lamone said she will not proceed with the e-poll book system, required under state law, unless she's "fully satisfied" that the problems encountered during the primary won't occur again.

During a hearing last week, Lamone told state officials that the software for the electronic check-in books included features that overloaded the machines and shut them down after about 40 voters signed in.

The mishap has evolved into a political struggle, with Democrats and Republicans pointing fingers at each other.

State Board of Elections officials and an independent expert will review the Diebold report and system fixes late next week, and a public demonstration of the e-poll books will take place Oct. 3.

If the full-day simulation is not successful, Lamone said she will require local election boards to prepare paper precinct registers and voter authority cards, and train judges.

"If the problems are not satisfactorily resolved and demonstrated as such by October 3rd, the need for an orderly election, in my opinion, will clearly outweigh the legal requirement for the use of electronic poll books," Lamone wrote in the letter.

Sun reporter Laura Barnhardt contributed to this article.

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