Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today joined the Maryland Congressional Delegation in writing to Governor Larry Hogan (R) to express their concern with his plan to proceed with in-person voting for the November 3 general election.
The lawmakers called on Governor Hogan to rescind his directive and issue new guidance to maximize voter safety and voter participation. Under Governor Hogan’s current plan, all in-person voting locations will be open and voters would have to request an absentee ballot through the Board of Elections to vote by mail. While the Delegation agrees that limited polling locations should be available for Marylanders who need to vote in-person, the Delegation is concerned that there are not enough resources to safely and sufficiently open and staff all polling locations.
“Maryland voters expect and deserve free, fair, and safe elections, and we are alarmed that your directive does not meet that basic standard,” the lawmakers wrote. “We call on you to rescind the directive and issue new guidance designed to maximize both safety and voter participation by mailing ballots for the general election to all registered voters, as was done in the primary.”
The lawmakers continued: “This decision inherently introduces numerous new choke points that could lead to voters being disenfranchised. We fully expect that mail-in ballots will again result in a larger number of voters in the November election and could set record levels of voter turnout. We would urge you to reverse that decision and have ballots mailed directly to voters, without the need to request them.”
The lawmakers concluded: “If the decision is made to proceed with this two-step process, we urge you to provide every necessary resource to educate the public, ensure citizens can easily obtain a ballot and help county boards of election process applications in a timely manner. We also urge you to provide adequate resources to ensure that this decision can be carried out by our state and local election administrators.”