During a pandemic and a supposed hotly contested election, the State of Maryland has made a crazy decision to eliminate a massive amount of polling locations.
The State is going from approximately 1800 polling places to a mere 282 voting centers for the upcoming November election. Maryland claims it’s an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among voters.
A plan proposed by the state’s Board of Elections and authorized by “Republican” Governor Larry Hogan defines a voting center as a large open space like a gymnasium or convention center. These voting centers are to replace polling places that are found in small community centers or township buildings.
Nikki Charlson, the deputy administrator for Maryland’s Board of Elections told the Daily Caller that despite closing 85% of the usual polling places these centers should be more than adequate to prevent “voters from being disenfranchised.”
“The inability to staff polling places, it was like an inorganic consolidation was already occurring,” she said.
In August Maryland reported a shortage of approximately 14,000 poll workers. Charlson feels the voting centers require less staff compared to normal polling places.
The plan calls for voting centers to be concentrated in areas with the highest populations like Baltimore and Prince George’s County. Eleven of these centers will be open for early voting and 40 centers will open on the day of the Election.
— Maryland Terrapins (@umterps) September 8, 2020
Maryland’s plan also could delay election results, in August the state sent out absentee ballot applications to all registered voters.
“We are preparing for every registered voter to show up,” Charlson said, “even if that ends up not being the case.”
The influx of absentee ballots could risk or throw the vote tally in Maryland into question although Maryland is a solidly-Democratic and was immediately called for Hillary Clinton hours after the polls closed.
I’m not a scientist but to me forcing everyone to go one location doesn’t seem like a good idea to slow the spread of the coronavirus but what do I know.