MD Officials Agree On Balloting Plans For November Elections | WYPR

MD Officials Agree On Balloting Plans For November Elections

Aug 12, 2020

Armstead Jones, Sr., election director with the Baltimore City Board of Elections, examines ballots during a teleconference with the election board ahead of the 7th Congressional District special election on April 27, 2020, held as COVID-19 was first sweeping across the region. Voters were encouraged to mail in their ballots.
Credit AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The long running dispute between Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and just about the rest of the known universe concerning how to conduct the November elections appears to have been resolved.

Election officials from across the state had urged the Governor to conduct the election the same way we voted back in June: a mostly mail-in election, with a handful of polling places open for a limited number of voters who either didn’t want to vote by mail, or were unable to vote by mail... 

Turnout on June 2nd was high, but problems with the election were somewhat plentiful.  The Governor described it as “an unmitigated disaster,” and he made no secret of his displeasure with the way the Board of Elections handled it.  He ordered the board to make plans to vote in November in the normal way, meaning that while voters would be encouraged to vote by absentee ballot, all 1,600 plus polling places would open on Election Day. 

 The elections board balked.  Last Sunday, board chairman Michael Cogan wrote a letter to the Governor asking him to agree to a plan that establishes about 360 “Vote Centers” instead of precinct level polling places.  On Monday, the Governor reluctantly agreed to the plan, in an acerbic letter in which he re-stated his concern about not having regular polling places open.  Mr. Hogan also chastised the Board for not sending out absentee ballot applications.  Those are slated to be mailed at the end of this month.  Election officials and the Governor agree that voters should be strongly encouraged to vote by mail, or use drop off boxes, rather than voting in person, due to concerns about COVID-19. 

 

Baltimore City Election Director Armstead Jones, Sr. and former Maryland Secretary of State John Willis join Tom to discuss what it will take to vote safely and securely in the November 3rd election.

For information on the Maryland State Board of Elections' meeting agendas, minutes, audio and video, click here.