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Ferguson, Jones Seek Details On Preparations, Outreach For June Primary

May 19th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

WBAL reports the presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly on Tuesday sought assurances from the Maryland State Board of Elections ahead of the June 2 primary. In a letter dated Tuesday, Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones reiterated points made in a March 31 letter to Gov. Larry Hogan and raised new concerns with the first statewide vote to be conducted almost entirely by mail.

Hogan ordered the change in light of the coronavirus crisis.

They called for additional in-person voting centers, now capped at four sites per jurisdiction, and more drop-off locations to account for the late delivery of mail-in ballots in places like Baltimore City.

"In the best interests of public health and democracy, the further expansion of in-person polling locations and ballot drop-off locations will result in shorter lines and decrease chances of large crowds," they wrote.

They asked for an accounting of how many ballots in last month's special congressional election were not delivered or arrived late. They asked election officials to explain how the issue is being addressed.

Ferguson and Jones also expressed concern that the electorate hasn't been sufficiently informed about the changes made to the primary election. They asked election officials to detail their $1.1 million in communications spending and messaging strategy ahead of the election.

"Furthermore, we strongly encourage the State Board to implement a robust communications and education campaign in jurisdictions where ballot delivery has been delayed," Ferguson and Jones wrote. "We expect this voter education campaign to be targeted to our communities that are most likely to experience a negative impact from delayed ballot delivery."

They also wanted to know how much funding the board of elections got from the federal coronavirus relief bill and how it was being used

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