The fledgling campaign of Valerie Ervin to be Maryland’s Democratic nominee for governor hit a bump Friday when elections officials said ballots for the June 26 primary will not be reprinted to put Ervin’s name in place of her deceased running mate.
Ervin issued a statement calling reports of the decision into question.
“After speaking with the Maryland Attorney General, it appears reports around who will be on the ballot are unfounded,” Ervin said. “We have asked for, and are awaiting, a final decision on this matter.”
But a spokeswoman for Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) said his office’s position matched that of elections officials: the 3.5 million ballots for the primary would not be changed.
“As it stands right now, the ballots have already been printed, and there’s no time to reprint,” spokeswoman Raquel Coombs said.
Coombs confirmed Ervin had reached out to Frosh but said he referred Ervin to an assistant attorney general who had not yet connected with her Friday afternoon. Frosh has separated himself from the issue because he has endorsed Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III in the primary, Coombs said.
In response to a request for clarification about her original statement, Ervin, 61, issued another.
“That is correct — my name will be on the ballot at the very least under the Kamenetz line,” her second statement said. “That said, we at the Valerie for Maryland Campaign sincerely believe that since the law allows me to run for Governor, we have the right to new ballots.”
The former Montgomery County Council member announced Thursday that she would run in place of Kevin Kamenetz, a two-term Baltimore County executive who died of cardiac arrest last week hours after participating in a candidate forum. Ervin had been running as lieutenant governor on Kamenetz’s ticket.
Ervin’s decision to move to the top of the ticket could shake up the crowded Democratic field of nine candidates.
Several million ballots already have been delivered on pallets, in some cases by tractor trailer, to local polling places, said Donna Duncan, the Maryland Board of Election’s assistant deputy for election policy.
“We clearly determined it was not possible to reprint the ballots,” Duncan said.
She said elections officials would take steps to notify voters of the change in the ticket, although the measures have not been finalized.
There will be signs or some form of notice at polling places, she said. “And potentially notice being sent along with any absentee ballots, and on our website of course.”
On Friday, Linda H. Lamone, the state administrator of elections, affirmed her decision not to reprint the ballots in an affidavit.
“Accordingly, at my direction, my staff informed the directors of the local boards that we would be working with local boards to develop appropriate alternative measures to notify voters of the change in candidacy, the procedure to be used by the voter to record the voter’s vote, and the procedure to be used by the local board to conduct the canvas,” the affidavit said.
Lamone’s affidavit came in an unrelated case before the Maryland Court of Appeals, in which the plaintiff — in light of Ervin’s replacement of Kamanetz — renewed efforts to remove Nathaniel T. Oaks (D) from the ballot in a Baltimore state Senate race after he pleaded guilty to fraud.