Gov. Larry Hogan made the perplexing and irresponsible decision to veto
Kagan’s election reform bill (SB163
), which had been endorsed by the MD Association of Counties, the MD Association of Election Officials, the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and other advocacy organizations. A key component was authorizing early processing of mail-in ballots eight days before the start of Early Voting, helping to ease the strain on election workers and get more complete election results earlier.
“Maryland is the only state that specifically forbids opening and scanning mail-in ballots until two days after Election Day,” Kagan explained. “Two years ago, Gov. Hogan allowed ballots to be counted a full 33 days early. Now, with Presidential aspirations and on ‘vacation’ in New Hampshire, partisan pandering has clouded his judgment. His veto will feed into conspiracy theories about fraud by forcing us to wait weeks for election results to be certified.”
This year, our Local Boards of Election (LBEs) have been struggling with unprecedented challenges, including but not limited to:
- Delays in the approval of redistricting maps, leading to a later start in planning;
- A rescheduled Primary Election Day that leaves significantly less time between the Primary and General elections; and
- Historic increases in requests for both mail-in and Internet-delivered ballots.
NOTE: Without early canvassing of ballots for the General Election, we may not know who the County Executives, County Councilmembers, and County Commissioners will be before they are required by law to be sworn in on the first Monday in December.