Governor Larry Hogan today sent a letter to the State Board of Elections (SBE) demanding an update within 48 hours on the status of mail-in voting and polling places for the November 3 general election.
With the State Board of Elections unable to reach consensus on a plan, the November 3 election is occurring under existing state law, which allows Marylanders to vote by mail, take part in early voting, or cast their ballot in person on Election Day if they choose to do so. This is consistent with CDC guidelines, which recommend giving voters a variety of choices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 10, to help enhance voting options, the governor directed the State Board of Elections to promptly send mail-in ballot applications to voters. The administration has also begun actively encouraging state employees and college students to serve as election judges.
“I am now giving SBE 48 hours to report to me, the Board of Public Works, the Secretary of State, the presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly, and the public explaining why those applications have not been mailed to Marylanders,” wrote Governor Hogan. “In addition, we expect you to provide your plan for how to conduct the election under existing law, including the minimum number of polling places that you will be able to open in each county.” Read the governor’s letter here.
In the letter, the governor expresses serious concerns about polling places being closed, particularly in minority communities. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 explicitly prohibits “deny[ing] or abridg[ing] the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Section 1983 prohibits depriving any person “of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws.”
Visit elections.maryland.gov to sign up to vote by mail and be an election judge in Maryland.