Md. Board of Elections chairman leaving term early

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Maryland State Board of Elections Chairman Michael R. Cogan (R) announced Tuesday that he will be stepping down after the board meets in February to move out of the state.

Cogan did not give a reason for his move from Maryland at Tuesday’s state elections board meeting.

Members of Maryland’s Board of Elections serve four-year terms. Cogan’s term was set to expire in 2023.

Cogan will run the board’s February meeting.

At their meeting Tuesday, Cogan told members that some polls show a large number of Republicans doubt the integrity of last year’s elections, and he urged them to ensure all future elections are seen as “fair and honest.”

“There can be no partisanship in this country as to fair and honest elections,” Cogan said.

Voter confidence in Maryland’s elections was a frequent concern for Cogan throughout 2020. He cited voter confidence when he cast the deciding vote in requiring Marylanders to apply for mail-in ballots during the General Election.

It’ll be up to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) to decide on Cogan’s replacement.

Cogan isn’t the only Republican to resign from the State Board of Elections recently. Kelley A. Howells, a Prince George’s County resident, announced her resignation in December. She had been on the Board of Elections since 2015.

Tuesday’s meeting was the first for her replacement, Republican Severn Miller.

Board members also agreed to continue allowing electronic signatures on petitions. The board allowed electronic signatures amid a slew of other emergency measures during the early days of the pandemic last year, and agreed to extend that provision until shortly after the end of the 2021 legislative session.

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