Councilwoman Odette Ramos (D-MD-14) led the Rules and Legislative Oversight Committee in its first hearing investigating alleged irregularities in the 2022 primary election. (Photos by Tashi McQueen)

By Tashi McQueen, AFRO Political Writer,
Report For America Corps Member,

Those frustrated with the election process may soon find the reform they seek.

On Oct. 20, the City Council held a rescheduled hearing about this year’s primary election and its unusual complications.

Councilwoman Odette Ramos (D-MD-14) of the Rules and Legislative Oversight committee led the session. The purpose of the meeting was to address complications and prevent them from happening again in the upcoming elections – on Nov. 8 of this year and in 2024.

The main issues addressed in the meeting included poor timing for redistricting adjustments, lack of election judges since the Covid-19 pandemic and destitute work environments for workers of the Baltimore City Board of Elections.

“We had two weeks to thoroughly adjust to redistricting whereas the state had 2-3 months,” said Armstead B.C. Jones Sr., election director of the Baltimore City Board of Elections. “ We need the information promptly so we can efficiently do what we need to.”

Issues raised before the Rules and Legislative Oversight Committee include poor timing for redistricting, lack of election judges and meager work environments for the Baltimore City Board of Elections workers. (Photos by Tashi McQueen)

They also discussed re-considering the time frame for local redistricting by 2024 for the City Council race so the election board can have time to make the necessary changes. 

Though no motions were made, the hearing signified a step towards relief for Baltimoreans and poll workers who endured those difficulties. 

Council members acknowledged the complaints and inquired about what is currently being done in preparing for the general election.

“I’m happy to facilitate a meeting with the DGS administration to discuss what you need,” said Chairman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer (D-MD-05) to Jones. “There’s no reason you all should not have desks and office spaces at your worksite.

“There have been many improvements with the city’s election process,” said Ramos. “Since last time, I have received reports that people who had ballot issues do not this time, but we’ll see what Nov. 8 looks like.”

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