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An Attempt To Limit Mail-In Ballots In Annapolis

Anne Arundel County Courthouse
Joel McCord
Anne Arundel County Courthouse

Two Republicans have gone to court to keep the Annapolis city board of elections from sending mail-in ballots to all registered voters in this fall’s city elections.

Their argument hinges on a quirk in the Annapolis city code.

The code gives the elections board the power to “make all necessary rules and regulations” to register voters and conduct elections. It allows voters to cast ballots in-person or by applying for an absentee ballot. But they have to pay the postage.

And there’s the problem, say George Gallagher, a city council candidate, and Herb McMillan, who’s running for Anne Arundel County Executive next year.

By sending ballots, postage paid, to all registered voters, the board would violate city law, they charge.

“We’re asking the court to tell the city board of elections to follow the city code,” their lawyer, Charles Muskin, argued in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Monday morning.

Gallagher said afterward the change could harm voter integrity and harm him as a candidate “because the voter integrity is not there. And the voter security is not there.”

Joel Braithwaite, the city lawyer, argued that the board could make the changes under Gov Larry Hogan’s pandemic related emergency declaration and a recent city council resolution.

Circuit Judge Glenn Klavans said he will rule “within a couple of days.”

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.