June 26th, Annapolis - LWVMD has once again called on the Governor to declare a primarily vote-by-mail election with adequate in-person voting locations for those who may need them - beyond what was available for the primary election earlier this month - in order to ensure the safety of Maryland voters as we continue to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. See our joint letter to the Governor below:
June 26th, 2020
The Honorable Larry Hogan
Governor, State of Maryland
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
cc: Members, Maryland State Board of Elections and Linda H. Lamone, Administrator
Dear Governor Hogan,
Thank you for instructing the State Board of Elections (SBE) to shift our June primary to vote-by-mail to ensure Marylanders could safely participate in the election. We write to request that you instruct SBE to conduct November’s Election through vote-by-mail with in-person early voting options and expanded in-person voting locations on Election Day for those who need to vote in-person.
Most Maryland voters were able to safely participate in the June primaries through vote-by-mail. However, the very short timeline to shift to a completely new voting process as well as an insufficient number of in-person voting options led to numerous avoidable problems. The state should learn from those mistakes, and one critical first step to protect Marylanders’ right to safely participate in our democracy is a clear direction from you to the SBE now on how to start planning and preparing for the November election.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, we cannot assume it will be safe to run our November elections with predominantly in person voting. We do know that delaying the decision will jeopardize SBE’s ability to run a safe, secure and efficient election process, and could lead to even more problems than those experienced in the Primary Election.
We strongly urge you to immediately instruct SBE to mail every active voter a ballot and expand in-person and early voting options.
Vote-by-mail is a safe, secure way for eligible voters to participate in elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as was evidenced by the June primary turnout, we need more in-person voting options for people who are unable to vote by mail because they need assistance, need to register to vote, or did not receive their ballot.
Our groups have a series of additional suggestions to ensure our November elections are accessible and secure; but the most important thing you can do now is to instruct the SBE to mail every active voter a ballot and expand in-person and early voting options.
Emily Scarr, Maryland PIRG
Joanne Antoine, Common Cause Maryland
Reverend Kobi Little
Dana Vickers Shelley, ACLU of Maryland
Lois Hybl & Richard Willson, League of Women Voters of Maryland
David Prater, Disability Rights Maryland