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Voter registration for 7th Congressional race extended, June primary won't have in-person voting

Posted at 4:12 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 18:35:01-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland's State Board of Elections on Thursday voted to extend voting registration for the state's 7th Congressional District race.

The new registration deadline is now April 24, just four days prior to the special general election.

Voting will be completed by mail. Voters will be receiving a paper ballot by mail early this month. For those registering late, and unable to mail in, they can vote electronically.

In regards to the Primary Election on June 2, the Board of Elections voted and approved that all eligible active voters will receive pre-paid postage and absentee ballots.

There will be drop-off bins as well during early voting, at least one in every county.

On election day, in person voting shall be available at a minimum of one, maximum of four established early voting centers in each county across the state.

In person voting will be available for people who are unable to vote by mail. County boards will make a determination of where the 1-4 in person voting polls will be and report their decisions back to the state board.

This plan will be given to Governor Larry Hogan for approval/ feedback on Friday.

Dr. Mitchell from the Department of Health made the following recommendations to the board:

  • Minimize congregation as COVID-19 will likely last for months, not weeks
  • Election workers who are at a higher risk should avoid crowds as much as possible and should not work polls
  • CDC election guidance voting methods that are along the same guidelines as those given for the general public
  • Social distancing strategies/ create some sort of barrier between voters and poll workers
  • Processing mail in ballots. CDC is not recommending masks or respirators for routine use in the community. Masks are for people who are dealing with others who are sick. At this point in time, the CDC guidance is that people who are well do not benefit from wearing masks.
  • Sanitize ballots before opening. COVID-19 degrades faster on papers than on hard services
  • Good hand washing practices should be used by those opening the ballots
  • CDC recommends letting the paper ballots stay for a day or so in the transport process

Dr. Mitchell couldn't say with any confidence that PPE would be available for poll workers in June.

He's suggesting to design barriers to deter in person contact. There is no way to guarantee the virus will not be transmitted even if poll workers were to have PPE.

His overall recommendation is to find a way to have no contact voting.