Maryland Congressional Democrats Question Gov. Hogan's Election Day Plan
Tyler Waldman, WBAL (Online)
The nine Democrats in Maryland's 10-member congressional delegation sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday expressing worry over his latest plans for Election Day.
This week, Hogan said he intends for all polling places to be open and asked the Maryland State Board of Elections that all eligible voters be sent an application for an absentee ballot.
“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.”
Rep. John Sarbanes told C4 that the plan is burdensome on election officials who will have to field two sets of mailings from voters and could confuse voters who were sent ballots for the primary election and special congressional election without having to send an application.
"I agree that we need to have meaningful opportunities for in-person video because some people prefer that. Some people don't have access to mail pretty well," Sarbanes told C4 on Friday. "But the best way to offload a lot of voters from in-person voting is to make the mail-in voting process as easy and accessible as you possibly can."
He said that no matter how many polling places open in November, election officials will be faced with a deluge of absentee ballots. He suggested Hogan use federal coronavirus relief funding to support hiring and equipment to facilitate changes the fall election.
"The governor has enhanced voting options to make sure that anyone who wants to vote by mail can vote by mail, and anyone who wants to vote in person can safely vote in person," Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci said in an email. "We hope our congressional delegation will help us aggressively promote early voting, absentee voting by mail, and voting at off-peak times as safe and efficient options for voters. Let's work together to get every vote counted."