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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: elections

Show Airs on Cable Channel 25 and Online

The latest edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” takes on some challenging issues this month, outlining the resources available to help address opioid addiction and prevent suicide. The show also features an interview with Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler, where he  highlights topics of interest to residents including a citizen survey, gun violence and the importance of voting.

What’s Up Doc?  Baltimore County’s top doc, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch explains why opioid overdose rates are worse than ever and describes the help that is available.

Suicide Can Often be Prevented – Find out about the resources available through the Baltimore County Crisis Response System.         

An Update from Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler – County Executive Mohler highlights topics of interest to residents including a citizen survey, gun violence and the importance of voting.

You can also view the show on the County website’s Hello Baltimore County page. In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25 in Baltimore County, at the following times:

Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m.

Tuesdays: 12 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.

Thursdays: 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.

Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.

Saturdays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

Sundays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.


Absentee Ballots May be Requested by Mail, Phone, Online and In Person

Any registered voter in Maryland may request and vote by absentee ballot. The deadline to request a 2018 General Election absentee ballot for mail delivery is Tuesday, October 30, 2018. The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the General Election for internet delivery is Friday, November 2, 2018.

A voter who wishes to vote by absentee may request an absentee ballot in several ways: online for voters with a Maryland driver’s license or MVA-issued ID card; by submitting a signed application; by telephone; in writing; or in person at the Baltimore County Board of Elections.

To request an absentee ballot application from the Baltimore County Board of Elections, call 410-887-5700 or visit the office at 11112 Gilroy Road, Suite 104, Hunt Valley, MD 21031 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.  Voters may also visit elections.maryland.gov/voting/absentee.html to request an absentee ballot online, to print an application, or for more information.

To Receive Absentee Ballot by Mail

If a voter wishes to receive an absentee ballot by mail, the Baltimore County Board of Elections must receive a completed absentee ballot application by these deadlines:

  • If the request is mailed, by 8:00 pm on Tuesday, October 30, 2018
  • If the request is submitted online, by email or by fax, it must be received by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, October 30, 2018

To Receive Absentee Ballot by Internet

If a voter wishes to receive an absentee ballot by internet delivery, the Baltimore County Board of Elections must receive a completed absentee ballot application by these deadlines:

  • If the request is mailed, by 5:00 pm on Friday, November 2, 2018
  • If the request is submitted online or by email or by fax, it must be received by 11:59 pm on Friday, November 2, 2018

If a voter misses the application deadline, the absentee ballot request must be made in person at the Baltimore County Board of Elections at 11112 Gilroy Road, Suite 104, Hunt Valley, MD 21031.

2018 Gubernatorial General Election and Early Voting

The 2018 Gubernatorial General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Starting Thursday, October 25, through and including Thursday, November 1, voters may vote in person between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm at the designated early voting centers in their county of residence.

Early voting locations and hours and additional election-related information and dates are available at elections.maryland.gov/voting/early_voting.html.

For more information, contact the Baltimore County Board of Elections at 410-887-5700 or the State Board of Elections at 1-800-222-VOTE (8683) or visit elections.maryland.gov


By Rob O’Connor
Chief Technology Officer
Baltimore County Office of Information Technology

The Office of Information Technology prides itself on its role in making County Government more effective and efficient.  When we were asked to work with the Board of Elections following reports of polling place delays at some voting precincts during the 2016 General Election, we took immediate action. 

A team of Baltimore County process management and technical analysts identified and corrected mechanical issues that were causing completed ballots to misfeed into the ballot scanning machines, particularly at the Edgemere and Rodger’s Forge Elementary precincts. In coordination with the Baltimore County Board of Elections, the County has taken several concrete steps to ensure that voters are not stuck in long lines due to easily remedied technical and training fixes.

The intensive hands-on study, "Evaluating the 2016 Voting Process in Baltimore County," was conducted by business process analysts in the County’s Office of Information Technology’s Operational Excellence division, and it found sources of delay at several polling place stations.

Rather than throwing money blindly at the problem we conducted a comprehensive review and determined that the solution was to make simple changes to the process and training protocols to ensure that voters can move freely through election stations. The County purchased 52 additional scanners to be placed in precincts identified as having higher voter demand than their current scanners can efficiently handle, and to serve as back-up machines.

How the Scanner Delays Were Corrected

Performance issues were identified at the scanning stations, where an excessive number of ballots were returned to the voter with the instructions to reorient the ballot and attempt scanning again. Research revealed two primary contributing factors that could explain those errors, and the project team found that the errors were most likely when both of these factors were present to some degree.​

1. The printing vendor who produces the ballots for the State of Maryland had not received a quality assurance overlay gauge to ensure that the timing marks along the side of the ballots were aligned to the manufacturer’s specifications.  The timing marks are used by the scanner to properly identify ballot orientation and correctly match the voter’s mark on the paper to the proper candidate.  If those marks are misaligned, the scanner cannot accurately record votes, so the ballot is returned to the voter.

Solution: The scanner manufacturer provided the needed overlays to the print vendor to be used to periodically check sample ballots during printing.

2. The scanner has plastic guides on either side of its lens to ensure the ballot is inserted at the proper angle.  If the ballot is inserted askew, the timing marks will not be properly read, and the ballot will be returned to the voter.

Solution: The manufacturer created a quality assurance gauge to ensure proper alignment of those guides.  All future scanners produced by the manufacturer have utilized that gauge during manufacturing, and poorly performing scanners were inspected to correct any improperly aligned guide pieces.

Our team further concluded that the scanner’s voter protection prompts may confuse voters in certain situations. They worked with the County Board of Elections to specifically train election judges to better prepare voters, as well as training elections staff when and how to contact their supervisors for rapid scanner support or replacement.

Additional Testing Shows Scanners Working Well

After the above actions were taken, our project team retested eight of the scanners that had the most errors during the 2016 election using test ballots for the 2018 primary. These ballots were printed by the state ballot vendor using the same quality assurance process used for the live ballots voters will use. The test consisted of scanning more than 300 ballots with each scanner.  During that test phase, zero errors occurred. This exceptionally positive test result has made the project team hopeful that, during the 2018 election cycle, voters will experience significantly fewer errors than during the 2016 election.

Further Tests Planned for Primary Election Cycle

During the primary election, the project team will coordinate a time study that will be facilitated by chief judges at every polling place in the County. This study will identify when delays occur, and hopefully provide insight as to the cause of those delays. If further action is required between the primary and general elections, the project team with have the ability to make those improvements.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017