Frederick County’s Board of Elections is keeping a close eye on what Gov. Larry Hogan orders regarding the state’s presidential primary on June 2.
The primary, originally scheduled for April 28, was delayed by an executive order issued by Hogan last month. Last week, the state Board of Elections decided to send a plan to Hogan, with the following criteria:
- Mail all eligible voters an absentee ballot with return envelope and pre-paid postage
- From the early voting period through Election Day, establish one to four drop-off centers in each county, at early voting centers
- Allow limited in-person voting on Election Day at those centers
Frederick County Election Director Stuart Harvey noted the county’s Board of Elections will meet Wednesday to discuss this report, and other logistics of the primary election.
One issue is three of the county’s early voting centers are either at a senior center or library, Harvey said. Those facilities remain closed due to the coronavirus.
Harvey and his board are watching what Hogan might order, and anticipate a decision soon.
“The governor has not yet acted on those recommendations,” Harvey said of the state report. “We don’t have an directive until the governor actually issues that executive order, so anything we do at the local level [now] is speculative.”
Another concern is that the state health department can’t guarantee personal protective equipment like gloves and masks to election workers who might staff the early voting centers, Harvey said.
Dan Loftus, who has served as chief counsel for the Board of Elections for more than a decade, also said ensuring safety is a main concern.
“We have the right to vote, and we also have to consider the health issues, and there’s a balance there,” Loftus said. “Honestly, health concerns are aways important, to me ... that’s the most important thing, is to ensure that everyone is safe and healthy, and I think that’s the number one goal of the governor.”
Loftus said a lot of people will vote absentee and drop off their ballots at the designated voting centers since that directive is in Hogan’s order, but he was still waiting to see else happens.
“We’re going to take our cue from the state board of elections ... that’s how we coordinate with everything,” Loftus said. “And so that’s how we’re going to proceed.”
The county’s Board of Elections is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. The meeting will be streamed on the county’s Board of Elections website.