County Executive Ball, along with regional County Executive’s and the Mayor, sent a joint letter to Governor Hogan regarding his direction to the State Board of Elections to “follow existing state law and conduct the November election with enhanced voting options.”
“The Governor’s recent direction regarding the November election is concerning considering the current COVID-19 pandemic and resources at our disposal,” said Ball. “Our Board of Elections is already facing depleted staffing and resources after conducting a special election and primary this Spring. It is a monumental task to now ask them to manage an in-person election in November and offer vote-by-mail applications. By making vote-by-mail the exception instead of the rule, our residents may have to choose between their health and their vote if absentee ballots do not reach them in time. Maryland has the opportunity to be the model for the rest of the nation by hosting a hybrid election that protects the safety of residents and does not disenfranchise voters – and I respectfully encourage the Governor to reconsider.”
The Maryland Association of Election Officials also sent a letter to Governor Hogan last month, urging a primarily vote-by-mail election in November. The Howard County Board of Elections anticipates a lack of poll workers for a November election, citing a 50% recruitment rate for the June primary, and a 34% no-show rate of poll workers. Rising costs are a major concern with 90 polling places to staff and add safety measures, including providing PPE. Additionally, there would be overtime costs for Board of Elections staff, who would need to train election judges, process absentee applications, and be ready for a full in-person election with early voting.
I am personally a little torn on this issue. Watching the COVID-19 numbers will be critical as to what I plan to do in late October or November in regards to voting. If the numbers continue to climb the way they have recently I will be voting by mail. I also fully understand the concerns with safety in regards to voting in person for both the voters and the poll workers.
I know I would rather vote in person if it is safe to do so at that time. I did not love how the vote by mail process worked in the 2020 primary in Maryland. Not knowing or fully understanding the status of my mail in vote during the 2020 Primary and the problems we saw in some areas just did not give me that warm and fuzzy that all is perfectly good with the vote by mail process in Maryland. Maybe it will be better during the 2020 General.
Let me know what you think?