Local Election Directors: Emergency Pollworker Shortage Will Lead to Long Lines, Voter Confusion

ballot-1294935_1280The Maryland Association of Election Election Officials (MAEO) is warning Governor Larry Hogan that an emergency shortage of election judges threatens the success of Maryland’s 2020 general election. MAEO is a professional membership organization made up of local election officials and Election Boards from all 24 jurisdictions in Maryland.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, under Governor Hogan’s plan, all in-person voting locations will be open and voters will be mailed an absentee ballot application (instead of an absentee ballot).

According to MAEO, as of last week “[local boards of elections] have 13,970 vacant Election Judges positions (sic) between early voting and election day. Additionally, the election judges (sic) commitments we have today are fleeting. As the public health crisis worsens, election judges who confirmed their service for the general election will drop out with greater frequency.”

MAEO, which previously warned that Governor Hogan’s plan will be “costly, inefficient, and unsuccessful,” says that local boards of elections will be forced to consolidate polling places in order to manage in-person voting, which it maintains will lead to long lines and voter confusion at polling places.

According to a a MAEO letter:

[MAEO] has a roadmap to successfully conduct the General Election. We need to encourage all voters to complete and submit their vote by mail applications early. We need to employ vote centers instead of the ad hoc consolidation of polling places. We need authorization to begin canvasssing the returned vote by mail ballots before Election Day. Based on our experience of cavassing ballots during the Primary Election, we recommend canvassing 30 days before Election Day. We may have historic turnout this election and we need to work together now to avoid the worst ourcome: voter confusion and long lines during a pandemic.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, The State Board of Elections last week requested an additional $20.6 million in state funding to conduct the November election, citing significant costs related to mailing absentee ballot applications to voters, prepaid postage for voters to return mail-in ballots, and a statewide voter education campaign.

A letter from multiple county leaders calls on Governor Larry Hogan to reconsider his plan for the November general election and instead consider the “hybrid” vote-by-mail election with extended in-person voting centers, endorsed by MAEO.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

Useful Links

Letter from MAEO (July 23, 2020)

Conduit Street Podcast: Wrestling With Reopening

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: State Board Seeks Additional $20M for Nov Election

Letter from State Administrator LindaLamone (July 21, 2020)

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Several County Leaders Ask Hogan to Reconsider Directive for Nov Election

County Letter to Governor Hogan (July 14, 2020)

Maryland Congressional Delegation Letter to Governor Hogan (July 9, 2020)

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Local Election Directors Ask Hogan to Reject “Ill-Advised” Plan for Nov Election

State Board of Elections: Report on June 2 Election & Recommendations for November 3 Election

MAEO Letter to Governor Hogan (July 6, 2020)

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Local Election Administrators Urge (Mostly) Vote-By-Mail Election in November

Conduit Street Podcast: A View From the Senate

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Senate Leaders Outline Roadmap for November Election

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Maryland Senate Republicans Oppose Statewide Vote-By-Mail Election in November

Letter to State Board of Elections from Senate Republican Caucus

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Hogan Urges Marylanders to Vote By Mail for Presidential Primary Election

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Today: House-Senate Joint Committee Briefing to Review Primary Election

Conduit Street Podcast: Holding Elections Amid a Pandemic