Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Monday issued a proclamation giving the Maryland State Board of Elections the authority to execute its November general election plan.
The state Board of Elections sought Hogan’s permission to limit the number of in-person voting sites on Election Day.
The Board needed Hogan’s permission to sidestep the rules in place.
The governor announced in July that Maryland would proceed with a traditional – or a “normal” – general election, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly 3600 Marylanders have died from the virus as of Monday.
Hogan originally wanted the state’s 1848 voting precincts open on election day.
But pushback came hard and fast.
A number of the state’s election judges pledged not to show up and some private facilities said they would close their doors.
SBE Plans Change
The governor’s proclamation allows the state Board to set up 282 large voting centers.
The plan converts Maryland’s high schools – and other locations – into spacious voting centers that support social distancing measures.
An additional 79 early-voting sites will be made available; 127 drop-box sites are included in the SBE’s election plan.
In total, roughly 360 in-person voting centers will set up throughout the state.
What About Mail-in Voting?
Any chance the state Board (or the governor) considers moving to a mail-in voting system?
The governor said last Thursday that mail-in voting could lead to voter suppression and disenfranchisement.
Hogan in a letter to the SBE wrote that he is “very concerned” about the Board’s decision to close nearly 80% of the voting precincts.
“Expeditiously mailing the ballot applications, encouraging voting by mail, and protecting early voting options will be critically important steps needed to lessen the problems caused by your decision to close the vast majority of the polls,” Hogan’s letter said.
Early voting begins October 29 and runs through November 3.
What do you think about the state Board’s plan? What is your plan for voting this fall?