Maryland Senate Republicans oppose statewide voting by mail for November presidential election

Maryland’s state Senate Republicans are lobbying for a traditional election in November, calling the state’s attempt at a primary held mostly by mail a “failed and expensive” process.

In a letter Thursday to state elections administrator Linda Lamone and Michael Cogan, chair of the State Board of Elections, the Senate’s Republican caucus said the state learned from the June 2 primary that “a more complicated process leads to more opportunities for error and fraud.”


Republican Gov. Larry Hogan ordered the primary to be held primarily via mail in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All active, registered Democratic and Republican voters across the state were mailed ballots, and voters were encouraged to return them by mail or a drop box. Those who could not use those options or did not want to could vote in person at a limited number of sites.

Participation in the election was high, but multiple problems were reported. They included long lines at polling centers, ballots mailed fewer than two weeks before the election, incorrect dates on ballots and a printing error that required thousands of Baltimore ballots to be manually copied onto new forms.


The caucus called the ballot mailing process “chaos,” contending that ballots were sent to dead voters, while some voters received more than one. Sending ballots in November to all voters would “litter the state with unclaimed ballots,” the letter said.

“The sight of unclaimed ballots strewn about is enough to undermine public confidence in the integrity of our elections at a time when we already appear to have a crisis in public confidence in government,” the Senate Republicans wrote.

The caucus recommended holding a traditional election in November, noting voters can request an absentee ballot if they are uncomfortable voting in person. The letter states Republicans would also support moving up a deadline to request such a ballot to give elections staff more time to process requests.

Maryland’s general election is scheduled for Nov. 3. Hogan has yet to make a decision about the format of the election.