Maryland’s top election official said ballot applications for the November general election will be mailed to eligible residents starting Aug. 24, following sharp criticism from Gov. Larry Hogan on the delay.
Hogan sent Lamone a letter on Monday in which he inquired about a delay in voters receiving their ballot applications. He expressed concern about a repeat of the state’s June primary, which he called an “unmitigated disaster” after thousands of ballots went to the wrong address, were received late or not at all.
Linda Lamone, administrator for the state’s elections board, said in a letter responding to Hogan that the first mailings were set to go out Aug. 24 and will continue until all ballots are on their way.
“The final mailing is expected to be Aug. 28 but no later than Aug. 31,” Lamone wrote.
“I directed you to promptly mail applications to every single Maryland registered voter,” Hogan said in his initial letter. “It has been 26 days and you have failed to take this action.”
In her reply, Lamone said that the state’s elections board had been using the time to work “closely and diligently with the local boards of elections” to design the applications and find an effective way to mail them to Maryland’s more than four million eligible voters.
The board was set to approve the application wording during a meeting on Wednesday, Lamone said, adding that producing the millions of envelopes would then take 14 business days.
In addition to finalizing the applications, Lamone said the board was looking for a data center to help with the processing of completed application forms.
“We need another resource to help with this effort, or voters will not receive their mail-in ballots in time to vote and return them,” Lamone said.
Hogan wants in-person voting locations to be available for November’s election in addition to receiving a ballot application by mail. It is not clear if that will be possible due to a shortage of poll workers willing to help during the coronavirus pandemic.