Maryland election board to recommend eliminating in-person primary voting

Maryland election board to recommend eliminating in-person primary voting
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The Maryland Board of Elections is considering eliminating in-person primary voting over concerns about the coronavirus. 

If passed, more than 4 million registered voters would need to mail in or drop off their ballots for the primary scheduled for June 2. Officials presented a draft of the proposal at a teleconference meeting Wednesday, The Associated Press reported

The board, citing health experts, declared it could not protect poll workers from exposure to COVID-19, The Baltimore Sun reported

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Nikki Charlson, the deputy administrator for the Board of Elections, said during the meeting that ballots would need to be sent to all registered voters by the end of April. 

The move will require Maryland to restructure its voting system, including hiring a vendor for the increased number of ballots and raising online voter registration capacity.

The board will vote on a plan for the election by April 2 to send to Gov. Larry Hogan (R) the next day, according to the AP.

Hogan had ordered last week that the Maryland primary be delayed from its originally scheduled date of April 28. 

Maryland has recorded 580 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and four deaths, according to the state’s health department.

Several other states have also postponed their primaries as they wrestle with how to conduct an election during the pandemic.