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Maryland needs a better, accessible election this November | READER COMMENTARY

Election judge Brenna Fitzgerald sanitizes voting machines in Halfway, Md., Tuesday, June 2, 2020, during the state's primary. (Colleen McGrath/The Herald-Mail via AP)
Election judge Brenna Fitzgerald sanitizes voting machines in Halfway, Md., Tuesday, June 2, 2020, during the state's primary. (Colleen McGrath/The Herald-Mail via AP) (By Colleen McGrath/AP)

Friday’s report of progress toward organizing the Nov. 3 election was encouraging, but it also brought questions about securing voting access for all Maryland citizens (“Officials exploring mail vendor options for November election,” July 3).

As a Common Cause Maryland Election Protection volunteer in Baltimore for the June 2 primary, I became convinced that ample in-person voting should be available before and on Election Day. A more important concern, though, is mail-in votes. If the state requires citizens to obtain absentee ballots in order to vote by mail, it will need two sets of documents ready in time for printing and distribution, and voters will need to turn paperwork around twice. Time is also needed for the printing of proofs to correct ballot errors such as those found in June.

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Maryland is up to the task, but it needs to inspire confidence in the election’s timeliness, accuracy and fairness. The goal should be perfection; anything less may lead to allegations of voter suppression on the one hand or voter fraud on the other. A successful process, however, one that facilitates voting and manages ballots as cast, can be a source of pride as Marylanders participate in an election of far-reaching consequence.

Karen Ahlquist, Baltimore

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