2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Elections

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo's work in the area of elections policy in the 2021 General Assembly.  Counties administer and fund elections at the local level, overseeing polling places and coordinating poll workers every two years. MACo routinely advocates against state policies that result in costly or burdensome implementation for local election officials. This year the Maryland General Assembly conducted a legislative session unlike any other due to the enduring COVID-19…

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Baltimore County Announces Fair Election Fund Work Group

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced the Fair Election Fund Work Group, which will make recommendations to the Baltimore County Council on the creation and implementation of a public financing system for County Council and County Executive candidates in the 2026 election cycle. “The volume of one’s voice should never depend on the size of their wallet. I thank all the members of this group for their help in tackling the influence of special interests…

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Counties Weigh in on Omnibus Election Bill

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally this week testified in support of SB 831 Election Reform Act of 2021 with amendments before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. This comprehensive bill makes several changes to the structure and administration of Maryland elections, including boosting transparency for local Boards of Elections, providing needed flexibility for the canvass of ballots, and requiring that election results be reported by precinct. While most of the bill’s facets are outside…

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MACo: Election Laws Deserve Much-Needed Reboot

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally yesterday testified in support of SB 747 - State Board of Elections - Membership, Contract Management, Ballot Drop Boxes, and Voting System Financing. This bill, sponsored by Senator Cheryl Kagan, is a MACo Legislative initiative to clarify and update election laws with an emphasis on fairness, transparency, and accountability. By clarifying and codifying the 20-year precedent that governs the funding responsibility between the State and counties for voting machines and…

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Counties Seek More Options for Public Campaign Financing

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally today testified in support of HB 1066 - Local Public Campaign Financing - Expansion to Additional Offices before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill expands the offices for which a county may establish a system of public campaign financing. From the MACo Testimony: Currently, counties may authorize public campaign financing for elective offices in the executive and legislative branches of county government. This bill enables county governments to offer public…

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Bill to Usurp Local Authority Over County Elections Moving in House

A bill to mandate the method by which county commissioners and council members are elected to represent specified districts is moving in the House of Delegates. MACo opposes HB 655, as county governments are concerned that this one-size-fits-all approach would infringe on local autonomy and flexibility in local governance. The method and structure of county elections are matters reasonably left to those governed. Currently, that authority is properly vested in county governing bodies, regardless of…

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Counties Urge Consensus on Risk-Limiting Election Audits

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally today testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in opposition of HB 759 Election Law - Postelection Tabulation Audits - Risk-Limiting Audits. This bill requires the State Board of Elections, in collaboration with the local boards of elections, to conduct a risk-limiting audit of specified state and local contests following each statewide election. Risk-limiting audits employ statistical methods to ensure that election results match voter selections reflected on paper…

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Counties Resist Costly Polling Place Mandate

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally today testified in opposition to HB 745 Election Law - Early Voting Centers  Number Required before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill would significantly increase the required number of early voting centers for each statewide election. HB 745 would expand the required number of early voting centers by decreasing the threshold of registered voters that trigger a specific, higher number of minimum locations. MACo does not raise policy…

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Counties: Courts, Not Legislature, Proper Venue to Address Grievances with Representative Structures

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally yesterday testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in opposition to HB 655 Local Government - County Commissioner Elections - District Voting. This bill requires that the election of a county commissioner to represent a specific county commissioner district must be decided by a plurality of the votes cast within that district. Counties are concerned this one-size-fits-all approach would infringe on local autonomy and flexibility in local governance. In…

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MACo Resists Costly Polling Place Mandate

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally today testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in opposition of HB 423 Election Law – Voting Systems – Accessibility for Voters With Disabilities. This bill requires each voter to use a ballot marking device that is accessible to voters with disabilities to vote at early voting centers and election day polling places. MACo does not raise policy objections with this goal –county concerns are merely practical and cost-driven.  From…

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