Yesterday, the State Board of Elections made a bad decision. They decided to switch to all-mail voting for this year’s elections (fine) but doing so without putting in standard protections (definitely not fine) taken by states like Oregon that conduct all of their elections by mail:
Board members questioned how the state will verify that ballots are being cast by the actual voters they sent them to. Charlson said the state’s current absentee ballot procedure is to check for a signature.
“We’re not actually looking at the signatures, are we?” asked Howells. “In vote-by-mail states, I think they used software to compare the signatures.”
“Our problem is we are not a vote-by-mail state, so we have no real safeguards built into it,” Cogan said.
The board quickly moved on from the topic.
Read my op-ed piece online now or in the print edition of tomorrow’s Baltimore Sun to learn more on why this is a problem and more generally what the State needs to do to make sure the 2020 elections come off well despite challenges posed by coronavirus. Otherwise, close elections like the upcoming Baltimore City mayoral primary could go bad surprisingly fast.
In an eerie reflection of a past Simpsons Halloween special, Republicans are claiming that the Democrats are trying to steal the election in Maryland:
This sort of claim fits in with the Republican meme (and form of denial) that there is no way Democrats could win elections honestly, even in deep blue Maryland.
Here is why the fraud claim doesn’t make sense to me:
(1) Brian Frosh doesn’t need to steal an election. He is going to win. Easily. And unlike Nixon, he’s not paranoid enough to do it anyway.
(2) If one was going to program the machines to commit fraud, it makes no sense to show it on the final overview ballot page.
(3) But let’s imagine this is how it occurred anyway. Even if only 1 in 5 voters noticed the fraud on the overview page, there would be numerous reports of the problem.
(4) Democrats want to replace the machines. Let’s hope we can get a bipartisan consensus to spend the money in the next General Assembly.
I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories from either party. If something went wrong with this machine or this ballot, I look forward to it being investigated. But the cries from the GOP of fraud have consistently been far louder than their commentary when such claims are debunked.