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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State Adopts New Policy on Accessible Ballots

Maryland's voting system requires voters to cast their vote using a pre-printed paper ballot. But many people with disabilities cannot mark paper ballots without assistance, so they rely on special voting machines — known as ballot marking devices (BMDs) — that are equipped with earphones and other modifications. There are growing concerns that ballots cast by disabled voters are segregated and too easily identifiable in the overall collection of ballots. That's because the paper ballot used…

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Committee Supports McCray for City Council Vacancy

Danielle McCray, a familiar face to many in City Government, was the overwhelming choice of a committee tasked with nominating a replacement for the District 2 vacancy. With the rise of Council Member Brandon Scott to serve as Baltimore City Council President, his former seat in District 2 was open. A nominating committee heard from some two dozen candidates last night, before casting its lopsided vote for Danielle McCray. McCray has served as staff in…

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State Issues New Guidance on Campaign Contributions, Allowable Expenditures

The Maryland State Board of Elections last week issued new guidance on allowable campaign expenditures. Permissible expenditures now include child care expenses and cybersecurity costs. Maryland law requires campaign funds to be used solely for the purpose of supporting or opposing a candidate, question, or political committee. (See Election Law Article §1-101(aa).) Furthermore, there must exist a nexus between the expenditure and the candidacy for which the expenditure relates. In other words, the expenditure is permissible…

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Russian Hackers Targeted Election Databases in Florida Counties

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s reported findings of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election were linked to at least two Florida counties. Counties administer and fund elections at the local level, overseeing more than 109,000 polling places and coordinating more than 694,000 poll workers every two years. According to the National Association of Counties (NACo), in November 2016, the Russian Federation’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) sent over 120 emails containing malicious software to email accounts…

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