On Tuesday, residents of Baltimore went to the polls to pick the Democratic candidate for Mayor in the November elections. Or at least some of them did. Because of the novel coronavirus, massive numbers of mail-in ballots were sent out, so a lot of people voted by mail. Still, the limited number of open polling places and the social distancing requirements in place for those waiting to vote produced long lines. Some of the polling places were kept open until nearly midnight to accommodate everyone who was in line by 8 pm. Between those delays and the time it will take to count all of the mail-in ballots, we still don’t know the final results, but the numbers we’re seeing at this stage are disturbing. (Fox News Baltimore)

On Wednesday, the Baltimore City Election results were updated after the Maryland Board of Elections discovered a proofing error in some of the results.

Sheila Dixon is leading the race for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore mayor…

Based the nearly 76,000 votes that were counted, Former Mayor Sheila Dixon was leading, followed by City Council President Brandon Scott and former U.S. Treasury Department Undersecretary for Domestic Finance Mary Miller.

These numbers could still change as the counting continues, but thus far they appear to be quite close to the last round of polling reported by the Baltimore Sun. Sheila Dixon is up by a solid six percent over her nearest competitor (City Council President Brandon Scott), a margin of roughly 4,500 votes.

You can see the up-to-date vote totals here, broken down by mailed-in ballots versus in-person voting. Turnout on Tuesday was quite light, but Scott actually did better among in-person voters, He drew 1,168 votes, only slightly behind Dixon’s 1,356. But all of the remaining votes to be counted were mailed in, and among the mail-in ballots counted so far, Dixon has been doing considerably better. While not impossible, that represents a pretty steep hill for Brandon Scott to make up. And since the ratio of Democrats to Republicans in Baltimore is literally around ten to one, whoever wins this primary is pretty much the default Mayor next year.

This is precisely the scenario I was warning people about when I wrote that this election shows why things will never get better in Charm City. Baltimore’s voters appear to be on the verge of putting former Mayor Dixon back in her old office. As you may recall, Dixon was driven from office in 2010 following her conviction for embezzling funds intended to help the poor. Her successor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, didn’t even bother running for a second full term after her disastrous mishandling of the Freddie Gray riots. The last Mayor, Catherine Pugh, was forced to resign so she could head off to prison over fraud and tax evasion convictions.

So here we are in 2020 and what are Baltimore’s voters apparently saying? Hey… let’s go back and try the embezzlement mayor again!

I suppose I can understand why the current Mayor, Jack Young, wasn’t generating much excitement among voters. When he took over from Pugh as interim Mayor he initially said he wasn’t going to run for a full term of his own, but he later walked that promise back. Also, he’s made virtually no progress in driving down the city’s murder rate so far and that’s the issue that has consistently polled as the most important factor for residents. But couldn’t the voters at least consider putting a fresh face into the office and giving them a chance? You know… somebody with fewer corruption convictions?

Citizen groups and religious leaders in Baltimore constantly say that they are demanding change. The violence in the streets has to end and the embarrassing stories about official corruption in the local papers must be shut down. But if you’re just going to keep sending the same parade of proven failures back to office, why would things be any different next year?