State election board to open 3 voting centers for special election, encourages voting by mail

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Image via Elijah Cummings’ website

The Maryland State Board of Elections on Monday voted to permit three in-person voting centers for voters who are unable to cast their ballots by mail in the 7th Congressional District special election to fill the late Rep. Elijah Cummings’ seat in Congress.

There will be one voting center in each of the three jurisdictions located in the district: Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.

State Administrator of Elections Linda Lamone said in a statement that voting by mail is the safest way to take part in the April 28 special election during the coronavirus pandemic. But Lamone also acknowledged that it may not be possible for every resident to cast their ballot by mail.

“Not every voter can cast a ballot by mail, and the Board is committed to safeguarding their voting rights by authorizing local boards to operate a select few in-person voting centers,” she said. “For all voters who are able to send in their ballot by mail, the choice is clear: vote safe, vote by mail.”

In early April, the election board mailed ballots to all eligible active voters in the 7th Congressional District, including a return envelope and prepaid postage. Ballots must be postmarked on or before April 28 to be counted.

Local election boards in each jurisdiction will select the location of their respective in-person voting centers, and the state board will announce the locations no later than April 20.

After securing their party’s nomination, Democrat and former NAACP president and CEO Kweisi Mfume and Republican strategist Kimberly Klacik are the main challengers on the special election ballot.

Nearly a month ago, as the coronavirus had just recently begun to spread through Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that the special election would be conducted with a mail-in ballot. Hogan also postponed the regular April 28 primary election until June 2 in response to the coronavirus.

“[I]t is imperative that the people of the 7th Congressional District have a voice in the House of Representatives, and that Maryland has a full delegation representing our state in Congress,”he said at the time.

To check your voter registration, visit the State Board of Elections website at https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch or call 1-800-222-8683.

The winner of the special election will serve out the rest of Cummings’ term. On June 2, voters will again be asked to select nominees before the general election in November.

The winner of that race will serve their own two-year term starting in 2021.

Marcus Dieterle


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