(ANNAPOLIS – March 17, 2020) – The Maryland State Board of Elections (SBE) released the following statement today in response to Governor Larry Hogan’s proclamation delaying the 2020 Primary Election and requiring vote-by-mail for the special general election for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District.
“The Maryland State Board of Elections fully supports the actions taken by Governor Hogan today. Our highest priority is to deliver a safe election environment for voters and election workers while also ensuring the fundamental right to vote. The actions announced today are critical to fulfilling that goal. Effective immediately, SBE and Maryland’s local boards of elections are implementing the requirements set forth by Governor Hogan for the primary election and special general election in the 7th Congressional District.
“Maryland relies on thousands of election workers every election cycle, and their health and wellness is critical. We strongly encourage all Marylanders, especially those over the age of 60, to follow guidelines from the State of Maryland and the Centers for Disease Control that are designed to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19. Following public health guidelines will position Maryland’s election workforce to deliver the safest and most secure primary election possible.
“Lastly, any voter who wishes to cast their ballot by mail in the primary election may do so. Submit a request online by visiting https://www.elections.maryland.gov and clicking the ‘Request a Ballot’ box or obtaining a request form from elections.maryland.gov/voting/absentee.html.”
Frequently Asked Questions on Maryland’s Delayed Primary Election:
1. What is the new date for Maryland’s primary election? Maryland’s primary election will be held Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Early voting will be conducted from May 21st through May 28th.
2. Why is Maryland moving its primary election to June 2, 2020? Maryland has declared a State of Emergency related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and has placed restrictions on public gatherings of 50 or more people in the state. On March 17, Governor Larry Hogan issued a proclamation requiring the presidential primary election to be held on June 2, 2020. Delaying the primary election provides the State additional time to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and allows SBE to work with local boards of elections and election workers to implement public health safeguards for the primary election.
3. Will the same polling centers be available on June 2, 2020? SBE is consulting with local boards of elections to confirm the availability of existing voting locations for the primary election. If polling places change, election officials will notify affected voters.
4. Will senior centers continue to serve as polling places? SBE and local boards will continue to follow the guidance of federal and state health officials when determining where voters will vote. If polling places change, election officials will notify affected voters.
5. Can eligible voters still vote by mail in the delayed primary election? Yes. Voters who prefer to vote from home can request an absentee ballot. Voters who wish to vote this way can submit a request online by visiting https://www.elections.maryland.gov and clicking the “Request a Ballot” box or obtaining a request form from elections.maryland.gov/voting/absentee.html
6. What are the new deadlines by which absentee ballots must be submitted for the primary election? The new deadline to request an absentee ballot for the primary election is May 26, 2020 if the voter wants to receive the ballot by mail, or May 29, 2020 if the voter wants to receive the ballot electronically. Voted ballots must be postmarked on or before Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
7. What is SBE’s guidance to election workers over the age of 60? SBE strongly encourages all Marylanders over the age of 60 to follow public health guidance published by the State of Maryland and the Centers for Disease Control. Guidance can be found at www.coronavirus.maryland.gov.
8. What steps is SBE taking to safeguard public health at polling centers? SBE will prepare and submit to the Governor a Comprehensive Plan for the conduct of the presidential primary election by April 3, 2020 in consultation with the Maryland Department of Health. The plan will include measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on primary election day and to help safeguard voters and election workers. SBE will coordinate with local boards of elections and election workers to implement these measures in advance of the election.
Frequently Asked Questions on Maryland’s 7th Congressional District Special Election:
1. Where is Maryland’s 7th Congressional District? Maryland’s 7th Congressional District covers portions of the CIty of Baltimore, Baltimore County, and Howard County, respectively. The special election is being held to fill the remainder of the term of the 116th Congress due to the passing of Representative Elijah Cummings in October 2019.
2. What is the date for the special general election for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District? This date remains unchanged: Tuesday, April 28, 2020. The only change is that all ballots will be cast by mail.
3. How will 7th district voters get their mail-in ballots? SBE will mail absentee ballots to all 7th district voters who are eligible to vote in the special general election.
4. When will absentee ballots be sent? Ballots will be sent starting later this month.
5. What is the deadline by which voters must mail in their ballots? Voted ballots must be postmarked on or before April 28, 2020.