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Vote By Mail Appears To Be Choice For Many In Baltimore County

The Associated Press

Baltimore County’s elections director expects half the people who will vote in the county this fall will do it by mail.

The county so far has received more than 123,000 applications for a mail-in ballot from its 560,000 eligible voters, according to Katie Brown, the county elections board director.

She said about 30,000 of those 123,000 applications have yet to be processed because there is a backlog.

If you send in the application, you will get your mail-in ballot around the first week of October.

In order to cut down on long lines during early voting and on Election Day, election officials are encouraging people to vote by mail the old fashioned way or by using a designated drop off box.

So what if you live in the city and accidentally drop your ballot in a Baltimore County box?

At an election town hall Wednesday, Brown told county legislators that localities swap those ballots. She said that happened during the June primary.

“I would have someone take them daily or the city would come here and pick them up because they would get some of our ballots and we would hand off to each other.”

Baltimore County will have 43 drop boxes at various sites. Security guards will be posted at each.

During the town hall, legislators asked Brown whether all voting locations this fall will be accessible to disabled voters. She assured them they would be.

Democratic Delegate Lisa Belcastro, whose district includes Owings Mills and Pikesville, asked how disabled voters could get help mailing in the ballot applications.

“If someone needs assistance with their mail-in voting application, who can they reach out to for assistance?

Brown said have them call her office.

“I have a lady who calls me every year and I help her apply for it online because she has no one to help her,” she said.

Democratic Delegate Michele Guyton, who represents the rural Hereford area of Baltimore County, told Brown she was concerned that the two voting centers in her district at Hereford High School and Seventh District Elementary School don’t have public transportation.

“I am really concerned that we don’t have any ballot locations within my district that are accessible by public transportation,” Guyton said.

Brown responded, “There’s not much public transportation that even goes up that way.”

Guyton proposed Brown add Padonia International Elementary School as a voting site because it does have public transportation.

Brown said her department would look into it.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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