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Monday, September 13, 2010

Washington Post Guide to Maryland Elections

With less than seventeen hours until the polls open, let's look at the Washington Post guide to Maryland elections:

Although the election will be held on September 14, 2010, the Post is telling readers that it will be on May 4, 2010.

The sequence of contests is odd, to say the least.  They seem to be arranged by title of the office, and thereunder by district (if any), and thereunder by county.

I would have expected to see statewide races followed by the races for each county, but that is not the case.

The guide begins thus:
  • Primary: Attorney General (D)
  • Primary: Board of Education At Large, Montgomery County
  • Primary: Board of Education At Large, Calvert County
  • Primary: Board of Education, Charles County
  • Primary: Board of Education, District 1, Montgomery County
  • Primary: Board of Education, District 1, Prince George's 
and then continues with the rest of the Boards of Education by district number, Circuit Court Clerks, Judges, County Commissioners, and assorted other county positions before finally getting to Governor, about halfway down the list.

Some of the Sheriff  contests are identified by county, but not all.
  • Primary: Sheriff, St. Mary's County
  • Primary: Sheriff, Montgomery County (D)
  • Primary: Sheriff, Calvert County
  • Primary: Sheriff (D)
  • Primary: Sheriff, Charles County (R)
  • Primary: Sheriff, Charles County (D)
None of the legislative districts are arranged or identified by county.
Not knowing who is responsible for this guide, I sent comments to the Post Ombudsman on September 10.  He never replied, and it is clear that most of the problems I pointed out were not fixed.  (An earlier version showed every candidate as an incumbents, that was fixed in most cases.)

It would not have taken much work to get the date right and make this into a useful guide, so why has the Post turned out such a poor product?

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