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.
This morning, the Baltimore Sun endorsed Ben Jealous for governor:
Maryland voters deserve a real choice in November’s election for governor, and we believe Democrat Ben Jealous provides the clearest alternative to Gov. Larry Hogan. It’s not just that the former NAACP president and CEO has the stature or political skills to run a competitive campaign against the popular and extremely well funded Republican incumbent (though he does), it’s that he presents the strongest contrast to the governor in his vision for the state. We give him our endorsement in the Democratic primary.
Jealous is already doing well in the Baltimore region and this should only aid his efforts there.
Today, I am testifying at the House Ways and Mean Committee in favor of a bill sponsored by Chair Sheila Hixson (D-20) and Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-20) to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission on Voting, Openness, Transparency and Equality (VOTE). My opinion piece in today’s Baltimore Sun explains why:
It makes sense to get on the off ramp instead of heading directly into the blockages that plague the federal level. Reforms to the electoral system have the potential to encourage cooperation even as we respect the partisan differences that render our democracy vibrant. Happily, many of these changes can also encourage participation.
Capitol Hill looks like dysfunction junction. Let’s take a look at possible changes that could help prevent Annapolis from following that route.
The Committee for Montgomery, a broad-based alliance of business, labor, education, civic and community-based organizations played a key role in developing the ideas behind this bill.
Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun has written a piece analyzing the Currie-Griffith Senate race in Prince George’s. St Mary’s Prof. Todd Eberly and I agree that Currie’s censure won’t prevent him from winning another term:
[Del. Melony] Griffith “has a chance, because of what has happened with Currie over the past few years,” says Todd Eberly, an assistant professor of political science at St. Mary’s College. “But I suspect in the end, it isn’t enough for his constituents to say to him, ‘It’s time to pack it in.’ He’s known as someone with tremendous seniority who has delivered for the district.”
[American University Professor of Government David] Lublin says the accusations against Currie weren’t as attention-grabbing as those leveled against former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife, Leslie.
“What Currie did is hazier than stuffing thousands in your bra,” Lublin says.” Censuring is a term that goes over most people’s heads.”
You can read my analysis of the race here.