Larry Hogan is calling for Maryland voters to be allowed to cast absentee ballots for November 8 in the wake of a new statewide law that restricts voting in certain circumstances.
The governor made the announcement Friday during a meeting with state and local officials, the Baltimore Sun reported.
The new law, passed Friday, requires absentee ballots to be cast in person at a polling place in the county where the voter lives or in another location within the state, and it requires those who request an absentee ballot to give the county or state their name and address, as well as proof of residence, the newspaper reported.
Hogan said in a statement that the new law was not intended to target certain voting patterns and said Marylanders have a right to cast their ballots on election day.
“We do not discriminate against any individual on the basis of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or any other criteria,” he said.
Maryland lawmakers passed a bill last year to make it harder for absentee ballots from certain areas of the state to be counted, including parts of Baltimore, Columbia, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Prince William counties.”
I am encouraged by the progress that is being made to address this issue.”
Maryland lawmakers passed a bill last year to make it harder for absentee ballots from certain areas of the state to be counted, including parts of Baltimore, Columbia, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Prince William counties.
The law also requires that absentee ballots be returned to the county election office, where they are examined and approved before being counted, the Sun reported, citing a Maryland law enforcement official.
The move comes as the governor is expected to take a number of tough stances on the election after voting in favor of the federal Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a state ban on same-sex marriage.
The Maryland State Board of Elections said it has received more than 3,700 calls and text messages in response to the new ballot restrictions, which affect roughly 6 percent of the 6.3 million ballots cast in the state since the law took effect.
The number of people who are asking for absentee ballot services in the last 24 hours is more than 5 times higher than the average of the previous year, the board said in its statement.
The average number of calls to the board over the past week was 3,972.