Votes Will Be Cast at Centers, Not Local Polling Places

With not nearly enough election judges signed up to work election day and fears of long lines during the global pandemic, Gov. Larry Hogan issued a proclamation saying he agreed with the Maryland State Board of Elections’ plan to open vote centers throughout the state rather than using individual local voting places.

The BOE unanimously voted Aug. 7 to ask Hogan to allow the opening of 282 vote centers on election day, Nov. 3. Now local boards of elections can use public high schools or other alternative locations as places to vote. Montgomery County voters will be able to vote at any center that is located within the county.

Early voting will be offered at about 80 sites throughout the state from Oct. 29 through election day. Also, registered voters can use one of 127 ballot drop boxes that will be located throughout the state.

In an Aug. 10 letter to Michael Cogan, chair of the state BOE, Hogan wrote, “As I have previously stated, I do not intend to interfere in the Board’s sole responsibility to conduct the election under the law.”

However, Hogan wrote, “I remain very concerned that the Board’s decision to close 80% of the polls will have the potential of creating long lines and unsafe conditions, with crowds of people being forced into too few polling places.”

The BOE continues to encourage everyone to vote by mail. It will mail out applications for a vote by mail ballot at the end of this month. Voters can request one by going online. The deadline to request a ballot is Oct. 20.

Anyone wishing to be an election judge can earn up to $300. State employees can take 16 hours of administration leave to serve as election workers.

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