We need look no further than the catastrophe that was the Wisconsin primary election earlier this week to realize that Gov. Larry Hogan was wise to delay the Maryland primary from April until June.

Now, Maryland needs to get this done right, both the primary itself and the possible rehearsal for the general election in November.

Alone among the states scheduled to vote in April, Wisconsin ended up proceeding despite the raging coronavirus pandemic. It was terrible that the Democratic governor and the Republican-controlled legislature could not agree to delay the vote.

The result was thousands of people literally risking their lives to stand in line for hours to enter voting booths. While it seemed to fly in the face of common sense to open polling places during such a crisis, we are also troubled by the specter of a governor unilaterally ordering an election to be delayed indefinitely.

In Maryland, we seem to be moving in a more reasonable direction. The state Board of Elections has recommended a plan to Hogan for conducting the June election. Its main points are:

  • Mail all eligible voters an absentee ballot with a 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 very limited in-person voting on Election Day at those centers.

Frederick County’s election board met by teleconference on Wednesday to discuss the options, while awaiting direction from the governor. Frederick County Elections Director Stuart Harvey told the board that he will write to the governor recommending moving the primary to early July, especially since the urgency of the election is now reduced given the announcement on Wednesday from Sen. Bernie Sanders. Neither major political party will have a contest for the presidential nomination, and the state of the pandemic conditions in June is not knowable.

The overriding goal for the state and the county should be to move as many voters as possible to mail-in balloting to avoid having face-to-face interaction at polling places. That is the correct course of action, because there is no guarantee of safety, for voters or poll workers, when they meet.

With in-person voting, the poll workers must interact closely with voters to have them sign the registration book, and then the workers will have to try to sanitize the voting booths between each voter. The Wisconsin experience shows the folly of this course.

Maryland is still holding a special election on April 28, to fill the seat of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, in the 7th Congressional District. Hogan and the state board have shifted the voting to mail-in ballots.

Between this special election and the primary election, the state will be able to get much needed experience. Many medical experts are predicting the COVID-19 pandemic will come back in the fall, and if it does, the November presidential election will be in the middle of it. This is the doomsday scenario.

If it comes to pass, we might have to conduct that voting almost exclusively by mail, if we are once again under “stay-at-home” orders. Having been through the District 7 special election and the primary by then, election officials will have a much better idea of the challenges facing them in November, and should be better prepared to conduct the election fairly and smoothly.

(39) comments

LibertyLost

In the state that was/is a leader in knowledge economics, and technology innovation [OCR readers on police cars, et.al.] - In the age of IOT = The Internet of Things. In a society that can vote by text for their favourite entertainer. In an age of whatchamacallit - And - with the alleged necessity for 'government' assistance to USPS, of - is it 75 billion dollars? Mail-in-ballots is the vital protection for democracy in the United States? Tell me - who counts the ballots - six feet apart? But there is the issue of bravery isn't there? I will be glad to don my mask, adhere to any condition set so I can vote. If - by God - there is one US troop in harms way on foreign soil - Then I can risk my life for the liberty others are risking their lives to ensure our common moral devotion to liberty and democracy here in our home. We are that brave. We can not be cheap or cowardly. Clean up. Cover up. Go VOTE! Go home. Clean up and be thankful you stood for something other than easy, comfort and some odd peace of mind that you did your bit by mail in democracy. Multi-tier: on-line voting, mail-in voting, in person voting, opt-in-text voting. Our liberites can not be allowed to be managed by a government using a simple prison term that sounds cool: lockdown. Stay-at-home orders. If we are in such a dire mortal equality - then end all war now - bring our troops home, and reduce defense spending so those public treasury funds can be made available to make better our ailing. I wonder how many polling judges would be needed?

wran

What is there to prevent any person from selling his ballot to some one?

sevenstones1000

What is there to prevent that now?

randallwgriffee

What is being done to ensure that only eligible voters are voting and that the votes that are being cast are those of the person voting? Too much chance for voter fraud with "mail-in voting". How are officials going to ensure that the votes being cast are not from illegal immigrants, dead people, criminals, and the such? Will the vote be true and accurate? I think not!

rikkitikkitavvi

The Dems are the ones pushing it. Even the "Great Divider", Obama. They know that mail-in voting will certainly be tied to Federal legalization of "Ballot Harvesting", where political operatives are allowed to collect AND deliver (that's the biggy) an endless supply of Absentee ballots. Mail-in voting only makes sense if you plan on cheating because you KNOW you can't win in a fair Election. Just say NO to mandatory mail-in voting.

sevenstones1000

We already have mail-in voting. It’s called absentee. Happens all the time.

olefool

"ONLY I CAN FIX IT, ONLY I CAN FIX IT, ONLY I CAN FIX IT"..... Remember these words and who uttered them??? In fact, he has shown that all HE can do is dismember everything he touches... So I ask mr. tavi, and the numerous other iterations he has used to comment here.... WHERE'S THE FIXING...

Dwasserba

The Frederick mayor and aldermen held a "special meeting" on Ch 99 yesterday where everyone checked in from wherever and citizens could call in with questions, but no one did. I was so tempted to ask, "Is everyone wearing pants?"

Maryland girl

This article is incorrect. There will be no in-person voting available during the special election in the 7th district. There is only mail and possibly drop off locations. Let’s also not put ideas out there about further delaying the primary especially while we’re still waiting on Hogan to approve this election plan. The new rooms should check the information before approving opinion pieces.

elmweeks

agree 100%

rikkitikkitavvi

Gotta love those Election "Officials".

https://www.heritage.org/election-integrity/commentary/new-report-exposes-thousands-illegal-votes-2016-election

public-redux

Are you voting fraudulently?

phydeaux994

“Government Accountability Institute”......Steve Bannon....2017.....???

Quit falling for that RRR(RadicalRightRepublican) Propaganda rikkitikkitavvi.

olefool

More bull sheet from mr. tavi.... all this article says is that there are thousands of outdated voter information on file. In fact, nearly all known voter fraud in the USA was perpetrated by republicans... remember NC last election????

jloo

Bush v Gore. 537 votes, every illegal fraudulent vote counts.

elmweeks

[thumbup]

madjer21755

wait, you seem to have forgotten about the 3+ million in last presidential election. Remember our esteemed VP was head of the group to track down all those miscreants.

Why he found a grand total of, wait for it, NONE.

Now he's head of the coronavirus task force, rest assured he'll solve all the problems.

DickD

We have no problem with absentee balloting. Any fraud has been minimal and no worse than those that show up at the polls. Republicans just don't want to have many voting as they fear losing, which they will.

bosco

Wisconsin seems to be having some problems:

MADISON, Wis. — The U.S. Postal Service and election officials searched for answers Thursday about why an untold number of absentee ballots never made it to voters in Wisconsin who didn’t want to risk contracting the coronavirus by voting at the polls in the state’s presidential primary.

https://www.fredericknewspost.com/public/ap/in-wisconsin-missing-absentees-spur-questions-and-anger/article_20b92013-1843-56e7-b709-2401d04c0571.html

rikkitikkitavvi

Get your popcorn dick and watch the show.

DickD

I wouldn't consider missing a show that makes the Trump cult look bad, ric. [lol]

User1

Don’t forget your shine box

rikkitikkitavvi

Too many opportunities for fraud within the entire State using the Democrat promoted "mail-in" option. Just say NO to mail in voting. Ya'll are the same ones that are opposed to voter ID aren't you?

threecents

We have always had the absentee ballot option. Have we had fraud problems with it in the past?

rikkitikkitavvi

This is just a sampling of across the country fraud. All you have to do is look for yourself.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/docs/pacei-voterfraudcases.pdf

phydeaux994

The only documented fraud was by Republicans in one of the Carolinas? recently rikkitikkitavvi.

threecents

If I read it right, according ot Rikki's reference there are less than 1100 known cases of voter fraud in the US over the last 20 years!! And not all of those were from absentee ballots, so... [huh]

public-redux

1100 in 20 years? That is the numerator. Now let’s estimate the denominator. A four year cycle includes the presidential election year and the subsequent congressional election year (ex., 2000 and 2002). There have been such cycles since 2000 (2000-02; 2004-06....2016-18). The number of ballots counted during the first cycle was ~187,000,000. The number during the most recent cycle was ~256,000,000. Let’s ballpark the average at 220,000,000. (These figures omit primary elections so the actual number is millions higher.) Multiply by the 5 cycles 5 x 220,000,000 = 1,100,000,000. Now divide 1,100 by 1,100,000,000. That yields 0.00011%.

Now let’s suppose that fraudulent voters are so exceedingly tricksy that only 1% of them ever become known. The other 99% get away with it. So, 100 x .00011% = .011%. Or about 1 out of every 10,000. Or 1 out of every 100,000 if 90% of fraudulent votes are not caught.

FredCo has ~ 190,000 registered voters. Assuming turnout of 56%, the number of fraudulent votes in FredCo, assuming the exceedingly tricksy 1 per 10,000 rate, is about 10. Assuming the not quite so tricksy rate of 1 per 100,000 rate is 1.

Maybe it is rikkitikkitavvi.

beyoungjr

[thumbup]

bnick467

Sorry Rikki, but you misspelled "Too many opportunities for ALL Marylanders to vote fairly, which is known to hurt Republicans, using the common sense "mail-in" option."

rikkitikkitavvi

By "ALL Marylanders" are you including illegals?

bnick467

We really need to start teaching critical thinking in our schools again. Tell me, Rikki, do you seriously think any "illegals" would draw attention to their selves by registering their name, address, etc. with a state election board? Don't you think that any "illegals" would want to fly under the radar and not draw attention to the fact that they're here illegally? Or do you simply assume that anyone who is not white is here illegally?

User1

Don’t forget the ones whose address is “any cemetery, Md”.

CheetoBenito

Are you accusing active and deployed military personel who vote absentee (mail-in) of voter fraud?

rikkitikkitavvi

Your allegation that I am accusing deployed military personnel who vote absentee (mail-in) of voter fraud is unfounded and without direct evidence. It is also an impressive spin tactic used by your typical "I'm with her" banner waving Democrat socialists. Be better frito. Ain't you got a mouse to catch?

CheetoBenito

Ain't you got some of them thar flies to clean off the windowsill of the "No Tell Motel?" You and your lil' mama missed 'em last time. Buck up boy!!!!

phydeaux994

what about that rikkitikkitavvi? “Dead flies in the middle of the sill”. Sounds like a good song title.

olefool

What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

User1

Funny that the Dimocrats opposed this in the past for the same reason they opposed voter-id.....that it was racist and penalized the poor that can’t get their mail. Can’t have it both ways.

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