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Maryland’s Republican lawmakers urged the state’s voters to cast their ballots in-person rather than by mail in November’s general election-saying that the former better ensures a more accurate count than the latter.
“I am all for in-person voting. Everybody else is going out in public. I would encourage as much in-person voting as possible,” Del. Brian Chisholm (R-Anne Arundel) told MarylandReporter.com in a phone interview on Monday.
Chisholm said mail-in voting increases the chances of fraud.
“Time and time again, I’m getting story after story after story-of people getting dead relatives, past owners of their house-receiving ballots. So, how are we going to feel comfortable knowing that the number of votes being counted are accurate?
Chisholm added: “All everybody really wants is a fair election with the right votes being counted. And the best way to do that is in-person.”
Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-Baltimore County) echoed similar sentiments.
“I keep on seeing the flaws that are out there for the mail-in…I’m telling people to vote in-person because I think there’s more security in that. I think people are more satisfied with that. I see more fraud and the opportunity of more fraud with the mail-in.”
Salling, who is running for Congress in the second district, relayed that some of his constituents told him that ballots were mailed to their homes addressed to people who do not live there.
“When you see things like that it puts it into question. And it should.”
But not everyone said mail-in voting is problematic.
Sen. Will Smith (D-Montgomery) said mail-in voting is no different than absentee voting and that both have proven to be safe.
“When people vote absentee-that’s essentially the same thing. People have been doing it across the nation for years and in Maryland for years. It’s safe. It’s effective. You can check and verify that your vote has been counted. So, I do not have concerns about the efficacy or the safety” of mail-in voting.
Smith added: “As a member of the military overseas, I’ve been voting through mail for years. So, no, I don’t have any concerns.”
The Maryland State Board of Elections (SBE) announced in a press release on Monday that the agency has now sent applications for mail-in ballots to eligible voters in all 24 of the state’s jurisdictions. The applications were shipped on Aug. 24 and Aug. 25. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is Tuesday, Oct. 20. Requests can be submitted by mail or online.
Voted ballots must be returned to the voter’s local election office. This can be done by mail, drop-box or in-person delivery. A provisional ballot will be given to those who request a mail-in ballot but decide to vote in-person.
SBE administrator Linda Lamone urged Maryland’s voters to make sure their information is up to date so they can participate in the upcoming election.
“It is essential that all eligible Maryland residents have the opportunity to participate in the general election being held November 3,”Lamone said in a statement. “For those who have not yet registered to vote, we strongly encourage you to do so. If you have already registered, please take this opportunity to review your voter registration information online and make any necessary updates. This will help ensure you have a seamless voting experience.”
In July, Gov. Larry Hogan ordered SBE to implement a voting system with enhanced options in order to encourage maximum voter participation and safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.
SBE has encouraged Maryland’s voters to cast their ballots by mail due to the pandemic.
As of August 19, more than 260,000 voters in Maryland have requested mail-in ballots, according to data USA Today Network received from the state’s Board of Elections.