Federal Courts Reject MD Political Advertising Rules

A Federal appeals court has upheld a lower court decision that a 2018 Maryland law governing online political advertising is an unconstitutional limit on free speech. Maryland legislation governing online political advertising, passed in 2018 and enacted without the Governor's signature, has hit a major roadblock in federal court. The bill has not taken effect while online media companies challenge its legality, and the latest ruling upholds their view. The bill - SB 875 and…

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Preview the 2020 Session “Big Picture”

A compilation of Issue Papers previews major fiscal and policy issues facing the General Assembly in the year ahead. This resource is a handy guide to the top issues that your legislators will be tackling in 2020 – a great preparation document for county officials in advance of meetings with their local Delegations. Developed by the Department of Legislative Services (DLS), the 2020 Issue Papers are an annual staple for the Annapolis policy-inclined population. They are also…

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City Council Approves Public Campaign Financing Option

The Baltimore City Council today approved legislation to establish public campaign financing for candidates seeking City elective office. The voluntary program would allocate matching funds to candidates who agree not to accept individual donations larger than $150 or donations from corporations, unions, and political action committees (PACS). According to WYPR: For example, mayoral candidates must raise either $40,000 or receive donations from 500 individuals or more to tap into the fund; candidates for comptroller or…

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Local Election Officials Can Get Free Post-Election Auditing Tool from the Feds

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is offering state and local election officials free access to post-election auditing software ahead of the 2020 elections. The tool, known as Arlo, is being created by VotingWorks, a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to building secure election technology. According to Route Fifty: “Heading into 2020, we’re exploring all possible ways that we can support state and local election officials while also ensuring that Americans…

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Report: Election Vendors Need More Federal Oversight

The private vendors that manufacture voting equipment and build and maintain voter registration databases lack federal oversight despite the critical role they play in U.S. elections, leaving America's election infrastructure vulnerable to attack, according to a new report. The report, published by the Brennan Center for Justice (BJC), calls on Congress to establish a framework for federal certification of election vendors. The BJC notes that this could be developed as a voluntary program, similar to how…

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Hogan Announces Special Election to Fill Congressional Seat

Today, Governor Larry Hogan announced a special primary election to fill the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings seat. The special primary election will take place February 4, with a special general election on April 28. Hogan had 10 days from the death of Rep. Cummings on October 17 to issue a proclamation setting the dates of both the special primary and general elections for Cummings replacement. Candidates who want to run for the seat can…

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Washington County OKs New Board of Elections Facility
Image courtesy of Washington County Government
Washington County OKs New Board of Elections Facility

The Washington County Board of County Commissioners today approved the purchase of a facility to serve as a consolidated site for the local board of elections. The approval includes a budget adjustment of $1.4 million — $1.25 million for the purchase of the facility and $150,000 for limited renovations. The site provides plenty of space for early voting, board offices, training, and equipment storage. "Befitting of the location, the facility, and unanimous vote of favor by…

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Allegany to Host National Voter Registration Day Open House

The Allegany County Board of Elections will be hosting an open house to celebrate National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Staff members will be on hand to take voter registration applications, election judge applications, demonstrate voting equipment, and answer questions from the public. According to a press release: National Voter Registration Day is a national holiday celebrating our democracy. The first National Voter Registration Day was…

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Wicomico Welcomes New Council Member, Nicole Acle

Nicole Acle has been selected to fill the District 2 vacancy on the Wicomico County Council. Acting with a fast-approaching deadline, the members of the Wicomico County Council unanimously selected Nicole Acle to fill the vacant District 2 seat. The vacancy arose weeks ago when then Council Member Marc Kilmer announced his intention to resign and leave to attend to family matters in Idaho. From coverage in the Salisbury Times: Acle will be the sole…

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