Election canvass 1 (copy)

Frederick County Board of Elections attorney Dan Loftus, center, makes the call about a ballot with an unclear mark in November 2018. The county is now waiting on more direction from the state in terms of how to proceed with the primary election in June.

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.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter:

@Steve_Bohnel

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(14) comments

bosco

Should we be concerned about mail-in ballots? A photo in the FNP a few days ago showed a worker wearing rubber gloves while handling a batch of mail in ballots. Are those ballots contaminated with a toxin that is absorbed through the skin? [wink]

DickD

Not anymore than the ones you cast at the polling place, Bosco.

bosco

Exactly, Dick. We'll probably see people showing up to vote in hazmat suits.

Seeing people handing out chromebooks, ballots, or apples while wearing gloves indicates to me that there must be a toxin that is easily absorbed through the skin. Too many people wearing rubber gloves with no idea what and if they think they are protecting themselves against.

bosco

Oh geeze, Dick. I just saw some footage from a voting place in Wisconsin and there was a worker in a full hazmat suit, face shield, and a two-cartridge half-face respirator handing out ballots.

TomWheatley

"The ones" he casts? I get just the one ballot. :)

DickD

By the way, you don't get corona virus by absorption through the skin. It is your eyes, mouth and ears that it enters. Wear a mask, protect others. Wear gloves, wash your hands and don't touch your face protects yourself.

bosco

Right on Dick.

TomWheatley

Thinking about the worker handing out ballots .. He/she would be exposed to several hundred people over the course of the day whereas each voter is just exposed to them. Makes sense in that case to protect the worker even if it winds up looking like a scene from a sci-fi movie. Haz mat suit would be overkill and yes, gloves and mask should be enough.

bosco

What do those gloves do if Covid-19 is not absorbed through the skin? They do not have magical disinfecting powers. Please explain why they should wear gloves.

TomWheatley

Not sure why the gloves, but most likely due to the virus being transmitted by people bringing their hands up to their eyes or mouth. As a result, we have all the doorknob wiping and no handshaking going on.

Laura L

No worries about voting now; have had a life time of it and now safety

TomWheatley

Well written and thanks. Perhaps a followup article per the difference in the State Constitution as to what a Governor and can't do per elections? Case in point is the recent back and forth in Wisconsin with Gov. Evers (who tinkered with the State and US Supreme Courts, took his chance, and lost). Go. Hogan was able to delay our primary earlier in the year by Executive Order, but and I expect him to follow the State Board of Elections recommendations in delaying us again.

DickD

Middletown is using a mail in or drop off ballot voting now. It's easy and if ballots are placed in the drop off box there's just the cost to mail the ballots. . I think it is great.

olefool

Republican know it all's are saying that to use mail in ballots would eliminate their chances of ever being elected to anything.... Best reason to allow mail in ballots.

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