Maryland gubernatorial candidate Alec Ross is urging the state Board of Elections to list rival Valerie Ervin as a gubernatorial candidate on the ballot next month, arguing that refusing to do so “calls the integrity of the election into question.”
In a letter to state elections administrator Linda Lamone, Ross questioned the board’s decision not to reprint ballots after Ervin filed candidacy papers last week. He said printing organizations contacted by his campaign staff have assured them there is sufficient time to reprint the 3.5 million ballots before voting begins in mid-June.
“I strongly urge you to reconsider this decision and to do so without delay,” the letter said.
Ervin, who had been a candidate for lieutenant governor, filed to run for the top job after the sudden death of her running mate, Kevin Kamenetz. She had until May 15 to decide whether to abandon the race, run in Kamenetz’s place or remain a lieutenant governor candidate and select a new running mate.
Shortly after making the decision, the former Montgomery County Council member was told her name would not be on the ballot as a gubernatorial candidate because there was not enough time to reprint the ballots. Early voting starts June 14. The primary is June 26.
“It seems clear to me that whatever reason the Board of Elections has for keeping Valerie Ervin and Marisol Johnson from being printed on the ballots, lack of time is not a valid reason,” Ross said in a statement, referring to the former Baltimore County school board member who Ervin tapped as her running mate. “How will the candidates or the voters have faith in this process when all of the eligible candidates were not actually printed on the ballot?”
Donna Duncan, the Board of Election’s assistant deputy for election policy, said Tuesday that election officials are creating a notice explaining the situation that will be available at polling places and provided to those who receive absentee ballots. The notice would also be on the election board’s website, Duncan said.
The board contactedthe Democratic candidates to get their feedback on the wording of the message, Duncan said, and both Ross and perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe said the ballots should be reprinted.
“We’re still working out all the details,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re covering all of our bases.”
Ervin, who had not spoken to Lamone this week and has been seeking legal advice from voting rights organizations, said the decision not to reprint the ballots is “embarrassing” for Maryland, which is widely known for its progressive policies.
“This is about voting rights,” Ervin said. “And Maryland is going to have a black eye on this one.”
Ross sent copies of his letter to Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D).