BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and several other county executives urged the governor to consider a hybrid vote-by-mail election with some in-person voting options, after the governor directed the State Board of Elections to “follow existing state law and conduct the November election with enhanced voting options,”
They said this direction will require local Board of Elections to conduct two elections- a vote-by-mail election and a regular election, a feat they called a “herculean task” and would set up a course for failure.
The group is made up of Young; Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman; Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr.; Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner; Howard County Executive Calvin Ball; Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich.
The seven local leaders said in their own experience, people will be standing together for prolonged periods indoors while voting in-person.
“Based on feedback we have already begun to receive, we believe there will be limited availability of private venues, like places of worship, community centers, nursing homes, senior centers, due to health and safety concerns,” they said in the letter.
They said they also expect there will be an increased need for poll workers to extend voting hours, which will then have to perform enhanced cleaning to comply with CDC and health department guidelines- and those volunteers and election judges tend to be older, they said, and more vulnerable.
“Your directive may cause a hardship for voters. We are worried that voters will be challenged by the timeline in having to submit a vote-by-mail application in order to receive a ballot in time. We are concerned there will be confusion among voters who voted with the process used during the primary election,” they continued, “And we are most especially concerned that voters, unable to meet the ballot application deadline, will be forced to go to the polls, putting themselves and others at undue health risk”
Their suggestions for solutions included increasing access to in-person vote centers during Early Voting and on Election Day, sending a special mailing to active and inactive voters to verify addresses and sending a mailing to inactive voters that can be forwarded.