ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is encouraging eligible voters to vote via an absentee ballot in November, but said that all polls will also remain open for people to vote in-person as well.

“We’re encouraging everyone to vote by mail. If you’re unable to vote by mail by state law, we have eight days of early voting,” Gov. Hogan said. “And we’re encouraging Marylanders to vote early in order to avoid any possible crowds on Election Day.”

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Gov. Hogan said he doesn’t want a repeat of what happened on primary day and that the State Board of Elections has been unable to give a recommendation for how to proceed. He said it has turned into party politics.

“We cannot have a repeat of the primary where people were unable to cast their vote or they didn’t know that their precincts were closed, where to go,” he said.

He said the CDC put out guidelines for elections on June 22 that call for giving voters as many options as possible.

As President Obama said just last week: ‘everybody should be able to request an absentee ballot’,” Hogan said.

Eligible voters will receive an application for an absentee ballot in the mail. They will have to fill it out to request a mail-in ballot.

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I will be strongly encouraging Marylanders to vote by mail and I’m calling on the leaders of both parties to stop all the political nonsense and to join me and encouraging people to vote by mail, making sure that we get everybody the chance to vote on Election Day, whichever way they choose,” Gov. Hogan said. 

Hours before the governor’s press conference, protesters gathered outside the governor’s mansion in Annapolis, pushing back against plans for in-person voting this November, claiming it will lead to voter suppression.

State senators, local city councilors and community and faith leaders were among the demonstrators.

Activists delivered a petition signed by more than 1,300 Marylanders, calling on the State to mail ballots to all eligible voters, arguing that an in person election will put too many lives at risk.

There were only six polling locations open in Baltimore during the primary. Gov. Hogan said the small number of polling locations caused a lot of confusion.

He said that’s why he’s wants all of the regular polling places to open in November.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Rachel Menitoff

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