Anyone who has ever talked to me or listened to my podcast knows that I think Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is wrong more often than he is right. I could rattle off a long list of policy proposals he’s made that I think are utter garbage. But I can’t fault him for a single thing he has done during this pandemic. The proverbial 2am call came for Hogan and when he answered, he was ready and willing to do the right things.
By now, everyone has heard about him and his wife leveraging her contacts in South Korea to purchase half a million covid-19 tests but that’s not what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to talk about how he has handled the upcoming elections.
When he initially announced the first wave of shutdowns, Hogan postponed the Maryland primary from April 28 to June 2. However, he did NOT postpone the special election for the Congressional seat in Baltimore vacated by the death of Rep. Cummings. Instead, he announced that that election would take place as schedule but would be primarily vote by mail.
That was the moment when every argument against converting upcoming elections to vote-by-mail went up in smoke.
Hogan admitted that there is no barrier to shifting the existing election system away from in-person voting. Even time isn’t an issue; he was ready and willing to convert the system in under two months.
In the weeks since then, the process for how the June primary will be held has become clearer. The state board of elections outlined the procedure and the governor has signed off the on the plan. There have been calls from the state for voters to check their registration online and update any address information as needed to ensure ballot delivery. Ballots will be mailed to voters well in advance of the primary date. Hogan announced that primary ballots could be returned by mail or deposited in secure drop-boxes in all counties. There will be some opportunities for in-person voting but with social distancing protocols in place. There are rules for when vote counting can begin and when results will be released.
It’s comprehensive, thoughtful, and could easily be used for the November elections as well.
And it proves that any official who says we can’t change the November election to a vote-by-mail process so absolutely full of shit.
Full. Of. Shit.
If anyone tries to blather about all the reasons for why we can’t/shouldn’t be planning for the November election to happen by mail, just point to Maryland. We are making it happen and, after the Baltimore special election tomorrow, we’ll probably get a lot of credit for doing it well. The playbook for this is written. Written by a Republican, no less.
Pelosi and House Dems re working to get funding to help the states get ready to vote by mail in November. Since we know if can be done, there is not reason it shouldn’t be done. Tell you lawmakers that you want to see this change.
And you can tell them Larry Hogan is doing it right. I’ll be saying that myself.