State Roundup, April 25, 2016

ABSENTEE BALLOT ERROR: A portion of Maryland voters who requested absentee ballots in order to participate in this year’s elections erroneously received written instructions to use a No. 2 pencil when filling them out, despite the fact that the state’s system for reading the forms performs best when they are filled out in black pen, Kevin Rector reports in the Sun. However, voters who used pencil have “no need to worry,” said Nikki Charlson, the Maryland State Board of Elections’ deputy administrator. The error will not leave ballots filled out in pencil uncounted, she said, though it could require officials to replicate forms in pen for processing.

FUND-RAISING LOOPHOLE: Maryland state lawmakers running for Congress and local office are exempt from the state’s ban on fundraising during the annual legislative session — enabling them to take money from lobbyists and others with business before them, Fenit Nirappil reports for the Post.

OUT OF PRISON, VOTING: Reginald Smith stood at the corner of West North and Pennsylvania avenues, the epicenter of the riots that erupted in Baltimore a year ago. Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports that Smith gripped a sample Democratic primary ballot. By the time he sat down in front of the computer screen Thursday, he shook his head, almost in disbelief. He was about to register his choice for mayor, U.S. Senate and president.“I’m actually nervous,” said Smith, who last voted more than two decades ago — before he went to prison for 14 years for attempted murder.