Elections board announces locations of in-person voting centers for special election

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Instructions mailed with the ballot for the 7th Congressional District special election. Photo by Brandon Weigel.

The Maryland State Board of Elections announced the locations of the three in-person voting centers where people can cast their ballots on April 28 during the special election to fill Maryland’s 7th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Although the state elections board encourages voters to cast their ballots by mail, they will also be opening the three in-person voting centers for any resident who is unable to do so.

There will be one voting center in each of the three jurisdictions that the 7th Congressional District includes: Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.

Baltimore City residents who live in the 7th Congressional District will be able to cast their ballots at Edmondson High School, located at 501 N. Athol Ave. in West Baltimore.

Baltimore City changed the location of its voting center from the Westside Skill Center to Edmondson High School to provide a larger space, a state election official told Baltimore Fishbowl on Thursday afternoon.

The Baltimore County voting center will be at Martin’s West, located at 6817 Dogwood Road in Windsor Mill.

Howard County’s voting center will be at the Howard County Fairgrounds, located at 2210 Fairgrounds Road in West Friendship.

Local election boards in each jurisdiction selected the location of their respective in-person voting centers.

Each voting center will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 28.

However, voting by mail remains the state elections board’s preferred way for people to cast their ballots.

“To slow the spread of COVID-19, all voters in the 7th Congressional District are strongly encouraged to vote by mail. The process is secure and the most effective way to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus,” election officials wrote on the State Board of Elections website.

All eligible voters in the 7th Congressional District should have been mailed a ballot for the special election. Anyone who did not receive a ballot should contact their local board of elections.

To cast their ballots by mail, voters must fill in the oval to the left of their chosen candidate, use black ink to sign and date the oath on the envelope, and mail in the voted ballot or deliver it to a secure drop box location.

The elections board on Tuesday clarified that residents do not need to pay postage to mail in their ballots after an instructions sheet sent with the ballots incorrectly stated that voters should use “at least 2 postage stamps.”

Voters also have the option to submit an absentee ballot, which includes the same content and follows the same process for voting and returning the ballot as the mail-in ballot, election officials said.

Mail-in ballots were automatically sent to voters in the 7th Congressional District, whereas absentee ballots were sent to voters who requested them. However, election officials said there is no difference between the two types of ballots for the purpose of this special election.

Election officials said they will use electronic pollbooks to check in voters to ensure nobody votes twice. Individuals found guilty of voting twice may have to pay a $5,000 fine and/or serve five years in jail.

Ballots will not be sent to individuals who are not registered to vote in the 7th Congressional District, but those people can go to an in-person voting center on April 28 to register and vote, election officials said.

After Rep. Elijah Cummings passed away in October, Gov. Larry Hogan called for a special election on April 28 to fill the late congressman’s seat in the House of Representatives.

Voters in the primary election in February selected Democrat and former NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume and Republican political strategist Kimberly Klacik.

As the cornonavirus pandemic began to spread throughout Maryland in March, Hogan ordered the April 28 special election to be conducted by mail-in ballot. He also postponed the 2020 primary election to June 2.

The winner of the special election will serve out the remainder of Cummings’ term this year.

The June primary will determine who runs in the November general election. The winner of that contest will serve a full two-year term in the house starting in 2021.

This story has been updated with the new location of Baltimore City’s in-person voting center.

Marcus Dieterle

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