Maryland voting takes on new dimension in next month’s primary election

Election Maryland

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Maryland’s postponed primary election is just two weeks away, June 2. The pandemic has changed the way voters will be casting their ballots.

Washington County Delegate Neil Parrott is running for Congress in Maryland’s sixth congressional district this year. He is eager to let his Republican voters know he just received the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R- Tex.). But when Parrot filed to run for the U.S. House last year, he had no idea how the pandemic would shake up campaign landscape.

“The pandemic really is changing how we’re campaigning this year,” Parrott says. “It’s a dramatic change from normally going door to door. I can’t do that at all right now. So we’re trying to reach people by phone, by texting by email … anyway that we can.”

But the coronavirus paid a visit and has not only shaken up the way candidates reach voters, it’s dramatically changed the way we cast our ballots. No more crowded polling places. It’s pretty much the U.S. Postal Service now delivering our votes. But, in Washington County, for example, if you prefer, there’s a drop-off box for your convenience.

“We do have drop boxes now that have been installed,” says Barry Jackson, deputy election chief at the box outside the Elections Board office on West Washington Street here. “And they’re able to receive ballots now.”

Voting by mail, while convenient, has a downside: ballot security. Tim Wesolek of Frederick and his family follow politics very closely. He wonders how vulnerable the election system is under a vote by mail procedure.

“My wife and I received our ballots and then we received some additional ballots. One was from my daughter who has lived in the state of Michigan for eleven years. There are some for tenants that we used to have in our home — one hasn’t lived there for three years. One hasn’t lived there for four years.” Wesolek explains. “And so my concern was that other people might be getting additional ballots and everyone might not be as ethical and honest as I am, and turn those in and not use them.”

Meanwhile, Washington County deputy elections chief Jackson says his office will start counting ballots already received this Thursday.

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