This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Maryland State Elections Board yesterday change their mind and decided to allow three voting locations for the Maryland 07 Special Election to be held on April 28th. This was a complete turnaround from their earlier decision. New Right Network has found there were several irregularities with this decision.
In March, Governor Larry Hogan announced to continue the special election process for the seat vacated by the death of Elijah Cummings in 2019, with mail-in only ballots. In March, the shelter-in-place ruling changed the dynamics of the election. The board deemed it was not safe to hold any election using in-person voting booths. The decision was made to protect both the citizens of Maryland district 07 as well as the poll workers in Klacik’s district, which expands over three counties in Maryland.
Earlier this month, as reported on NRN, at the request of the Democratic Party, the Maryland State Elections Board tried to reverse that decision by the governor for mail-in only ballots. The committee held a meeting to discuss the new voting rules. The Kweisi Mfume (D) team wanted live voting, while the Kim Klacik (R) team stated changing the rules this late date would confuse voters. Due to the shelter in place order, this was not acceptable. No one could guarantee the safety of the voters or the pollsters. The Klacik team felt since the decision was already made and publicized, the process should continue. The Klacik team wanted to ensure that the election was both safe and fair. The Maryland State Election Board came to a decision and decided they would continue with only mail-in ballots for all upcoming elections.
Irregularities in Messaging – Voter Suppression?
Since the decision on March 26th, irregularities started to appear. The Mfume team did not want exclusively mail-in voting. They felt their voters needed “help” to get their ballots in. That is why they favored on-site voting.
Changes to the voting process occurred almost daily. The Maryland State Election Board initially notified voters no postage was necessary. They removed that message from their Twitter site and also the post on the Board of Elections website. Drop-off locations were not listed on the ballots mailed, making it confusing for voters on where to submit their ballots. Lastly, tweets were sent out earlier this week, before ballots were ever mailed. They stated that Kim Klacik had already won her election. Are these signs of voter suppression?
The Emergency Meeting Did Not Address the Problem
On Monday, the Board of Elections held an emergency meeting and changed the March 26th ruling. Answering a problem that did not exist. They decided to open voting centers in the three Counties which represent MD–07. They changed the published rules after over 500,000 ballots were mailed. Two weeks after their definitive meeting. The board said that the meeting was precipitated by a letter to the committee by the ACLU, which quoted that the mail-in voting discriminates against “anyone who cannot receive a mailed ballot such as those with unstable housing” or “the right to ADA-accessible polling places with voting machines for voters,..to seek assistance from workers at the polling place.”
None of these items are factual in this circumstance. The ACLU brought up the issue of race, and this is not a racial election. Voter registration in Maryland can be done when applying for a driver’s license, new registrations would be limited and small. Both candidates are of the same race. If the ACLU was concerned with disenfranchising those with disabilities, from voting, basic accommodations (Uber Rides) could be made for those truly disabled with the need of assistance. For very little cost. Do any of these “reasons” protect the public, or are they a ruse?
Opening voting centers for everyone because of a small few has major implications. It will not be specific to people with disabilities. Opening the voting centers will allow anyone to use on-site voting. It will put everyone who votes or assists voters at risk from the COVID-19 virus. Some Marylanders will have to wait in line to vote, how can a safe distance be maintained, especially since the six feet distancing may no longer be valid?.
Citizens of Maryland are prohibited from going to church, work, or the gym. Why has the Governor allowed this exception above others? The people of Maryland want to know. Some believe the fix is in. Why the change? Why two weeks from election day? Was Klacik winning? At this point, some important questions still remain open.
Why a Last Minute Change? Something Doesn’t Smell Right
At the Monday April 14, 2020 emergency, meeting, the Board opened a new discussion, and did not notify the candidates, Kim Klacik, did not attend and the Board failed to inform her or her team of the final results or to consult them. The decision for mail-in only voting was overturned with the Board Chairman admitting the order was by the direction of the Governor. (There is 55 minutes of silence that is no longer part of this meeting – silence). This order reversed the previous ruling (livestream timestamp 1:46:00). After the vote, the Mfume team was notified, but not the Klacik team. Curiously, why would they have only notified the Mfume team? Klacik learned about the decision from a Tweet and by reading about it in the Baltimore Sun. Why did the information not get to the Klacik team until hours after the decision? Why was the Mfume team immediately notified? Constituents should be curious about this!
Questions still not answered are: Why was the meeting held since a definitive meeting was already held two weeks ago? Why is the livestream quote at 51:00 stating the Governor ordered the meeting no longer available? Why was the first hour a private session? What was discussed that could not be made public? What is the involvement or relationship of the ACLU and others who requested the change? What was the political motivation for the change?
Can We Trust This Election?
With their decision, the State Elections Board has not addressed the following problems and issues that can be the result of their decision. The most important question is: What is put in place now that votes can be mailed, and be done live to prevent duplicate voting?
Key issues that should have been addressed instead of this should have been: How can the ballots be verified – Are ballots accounted for in a central location? What prevents another Florida, where hundreds of ballots appear ed in boxes at the last minute? Are the ballots specifically mailed to the correct individual? Why was the free postage post removed from the election board website and Twitter? What safeguards are in place to prevent ballot harvesting in this election? What is done to prevent others to cast a vote for someone. All of these are legitimate questions…
The Governor Needs to Explain Himself
The final question for the Governor is this: if he can order the churches, schools, and other non-essential businesses closed, why allow this risk to both the voters and people of Maryland with this Maryland 07 Special Election? As a concerned citizen and a resident of Maryland, I would like to know the answers to these questions.
I will be having a line one-on-one interview with Kim Klacick, and I will be posting it on New Right Network. – Stay Tuned