BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Election officials from every county in Maryland and Baltimore City came together at a conference of the Maryland Association of Election Officials to talk about the challenges they’re facing for the upcoming presidential election.
“Who would have thought 2020’s general election would have been like this? We knew it was going to be crazy but not this crazy,” said David Garreis, the Anne Arundel County Deputy Elections Administrator.
Commissioner Thomas Hicks of the US Election Assistance Commission told local Maryland election officials about death threats against election workers around the country. @wjz pic.twitter.com/mNAFrM34FE
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) August 25, 2020
Among those addressing the conference was Linda Lamone, the longtime Maryland elections administrator.
“The fact that we had to completely change the way we conduct elections in Maryland was just a real challenge,” Lamone said.
Lamone came under fire after the June primary for long lines and some voters not getting mail-in ballots on time.
Some lawmakers demanded she resign, and the governor expressed his outrage last month when he called the primary “an unmitigated disaster.”
For the big election in November, Maryland’s State Board of Elections plans for fewer but larger polling places for in-person voting and will triple the number of drop boxes for mail-in ballots—for those voters who do not trust the postal service after recent slowdowns.
There are still concerns about finding enough poll workers during the pandemic.
“Everybody understands that this election is causing some adjustments and we’re making those as we need to,” Maryland’s Deputy Elections Administrator Nikki Charleson told WJZ this week.
The head of a government commission that helps local elections officials said some across the country have been threatened.
“It’s the ignorant, ridiculous folks who are calling in with death threats. Your job is hard enough where you don’t need to be threatened and worried about folks coming into your office,” said Commissioner Thomas Hicks of the United States Election Assistance Commission.
He urged those in charge of Maryland’s elections to rise to the challenge ahead.
”The world is watching us, and they want to know how the United States—the beacon of democracy—is going to handle this election,” he said.