What to know about DC, Maryland primary elections

Voters practice social distancing while waiting outside of a voting center in Hardy Middle School in Ward 2 of D.C. (Melissa Howell/WTOP)

A Black Lives Matter sign is on display outside of the voting center in Hardy Middle School in Ward 2 of D.C. (Melissa Howell/WTOP)

Campaign signs are on display at the polls at One Judiciary Square in Ward 2 of D.C. (Melissa Howell/WTOP)


Tuesday is primary day in D.C. and Maryland, and it’ll most likely be an election day like no other.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led both D.C. and Maryland to significantly loosen the process for getting a mail-in ballot, so it likely won’t be a typical Election Night, with candidates and campaign workers breathlessly waiting for the latest vote counts. Rather, Tuesday is the deadline in both places for mail-in ballots to be postmarked, and votes will likely be counted for days.

As of 10 p.m. voters were still lined up at voting centers in D.C. waiting to vote. The polls closed at 8 p.m. but voters who are in line until that time may still cast a vote.

Check back here for the results as they become available.


The races —

In the District, the race to watch is in the Democratic primary for the Ward 2 D.C. Council seat, where Jack Evans, who held the post for 28 years, resigned in January before he was expelled by the rest of the council over ethics violations, and is running to regain his seat. Other candidates in the race are Patrick Kennedy, Kishan Putta, Jordan Grossman, Daniel Hernandez, Brooke Pinto, Yilin (Ellen) Zhang and John Fanning.

Evans flirted with the idea of running in the June 16 special election to fill out the rest of his term, but ultimately decided against it.

In Ward 4, incumbent Brandon Todd is running against Janeese Lewis George and Marlena Edwards.

In Ward 7, incumbent Vincent Gray is being challenged by Kelvin Brown, Anthony Lorenzo Green, Rebecca J. Morris, Veda Rasheed and James Leroy Jennings.

In Ward 8, incumbent Trayon White is up against Stuart Anderson, Mike Austin and Yaida Ford.

The presidential primary is on the ballot too, but President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are the only two major-party candidates still running.

The voting process

The District really wanted people to vote by mail, so as to reduce the number of people lined up and standing in polling places, so they mailed an absentee ballot application to anyone who asked for one. The deadline to ask was May 26.

Mail-in ballots have to be postmarked by Tuesday and be in to the Board of Elections within a week. You can check to see whether your ballot was counted on the Board of Elections site.


The races —

The presidential race is set, but there are plenty of other choices in Maryland on Tuesday. All eight seats in the U.S. House are holding primaries, and a whopping two-dozen Democratic candidates are in the running to be mayor of Baltimore. Ex-Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned last year after she was sentenced to three years in prison on conspiracy and tax-evasion charges.

In Montgomery County, 13 candidates are running for an at-large seat on the council, and three for the open Board of Education seat.

To check out the options in your area, have a look at your county’s sample ballot:

The voting process

Whereas in D.C. each voter was mailed an application for a mail ballot, the Maryland Board of Elections just mailed each voter a mail-in ballot straight away. It has to be postmarked Tuesday to count, and you can check its progress online at the Board of Elections site.

“Pay attention,” said Nikki Charlson, the deputy administrator at the Maryland Board of Elections. “If you put your ballot in a mailbox, make sure it’ll be picked up [Tuesday].”

The Maryland State Board of Elections says there have been some instances where a mail-in ballot was deemed “undeliverable” by the United States Post Office, but categorized as “voted and returned” in the electronic poll books. Those voters will be allowed to vote by provisional ballot.  The board says it’s still working to find out how many mail-in ballots were affected.

WTOP’s Jack Moore, Alejandro Alvarez and Michelle Basch contributed to this report.

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