Senate confirms Butler as first Black state police superintendent; Republicans want vote on elections board picks

March 31, 2023

Maryland Matters

Republicans push for vote on elections nominees 

Senate Republicans on Friday called on their Democratic counterparts to vote on two nominees to boards of elections.

The Senate Executive Nominations Committee voted Monday to hold the nominations of Christine McCloud and Michelle Ewing. The pair were nominated to the state and Talbot County boards of elections, respectively.

Minority Whip Justin Ready (R-Carroll and Frederick) called on Democrats to allow McCloud and Ewing a vote.

He called for deference by lawmakers when it comes to nominations made by the Republican party.

Christine McCloud, a Howard County resident, was nominated by the Maryland Republican Party to fill a vacancy on the state Board of Elections. The Senate Executive Nominations Committee held her nomination Monday after questioning her for several minutes about her views on election policies. Photo by Bryan P. Sears.

McCloud, a Howard County resident, was appointed to the Maryland State Board of Elections by the state Republican Party. Ewing’s appointment to the Talbot board came from that county’s Republican Central Committee.

McCloud was one of three nominees to the state board. The other two — a Democrat and a Republican — were both confirmed by the Senate.

“They are both highly qualified, thoughtful people who are community leaders and will be fair, impartial and diligent members of our State Board, especially as we are going to be getting a new administrator,” said Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan (D-Montgomery). “I think the fact that both parties have forwarded one person who is eligible to serve us well, bodes well. And I just hope that we can expect that to continue from both parties.”

Both McCloud and Ewing both ran into confirmation problems earlier in the week that led to the committee holding their nominations.

They are the second and third Republican elections appointees to run into trouble this year.

Ewing was the subject of a late social media effort to block her nomination to the Talbot County Board of Elections. Opponents objected to her support for keeping a Confederate monument on the lawn of the Talbot County courthouse, and critics also made claims that she was an election denier.

Ewing was not interviewed by the committee. In an interview, she told Maryland Matters that she would not appear before the committee because she had been told the panel would not forward her name to the full Senate.

Ewing, who in an interview described herself as a supporter of former President Donald Trump, denied being an election denier.

“I believe the election in Talbot County was legitimate,” she said, adding that she similarly believed the 2020 election in Maryland was not tainted.

But Ewing said she had concerns, shared by many other Republicans, about elections in other states including Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

McCloud, a hypnotherapist, was questioned about her lack of election experience — limited to volunteer work holding a sign at a polling place for an unidentified candidate.

McCloud was also asked about her personal views about the legitimacy of the 2022 election as well as the ability to carry guns into polling places.

The key moment, however, was when McCloud was asked about her views on the use of mail-in ballots.

“I don’t think it is secure,” McCloud said during the Monday hearing. “I know people that have gotten mail in ballots sent to their house and they’ve gotten several mail-in ballots. It just seems like it’s not 100%.”

Beidle said Ready could send a letter to put the nominations back on a committee agenda, but didn’t commit to any further action.