MACo Opposes Unnecessary, Costly Polling Place Mandate

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in opposition to SB 22 – Election Law – Polling Places at Continuing Care Retirement Communities. 

This bill would mandate that local boards of elections establish voting precincts in any continuing care retirement community that requests a separate polling place for its residents.

From the MACO Testimony:

Local boards of elections, working in concert with community organizations, regularly conduct voter outreach campaigns in order to extend voting franchise as widely as possible to eligible voters. These programs, combined with Maryland’s effort to offer and promote early voting and the “absentee on demand” option, provide voters with a variety of options to exercise their voting privilege.

As a rule, MACo resists state policies that trigger costly or burdensome local implementation. Providing additional precinct locations entails substantial costs for equipment purchases/leases, equipment storage and transportation, staff compensation and training, and other overhead. These costs are nearly fully borne by the county governments.

Under state law, counties have no choice but to fund these costs – competing for limited local funds against education, public safety, roadway maintenance, and other essential public services.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.