The Mayor, Board of Aldermen discussed that during a Wednesday Workshop.
Frederick, Md (KM) Things could be a little different for the 2021 Frederick city municipal elections. During a Workshop on Wednesday, the President of the Board of Supervisors of Elections, Marc Mitchell, discussed a proposal to send every single registered voter in the city of Frederick a mail-in ballot. “We also want to use ballot drop boxes as an option to return a mailed ballot,” he said. “So you could give the voter the option to return it by post office, or put it in a drop box.”
Drop boxes were used in Frederick County during the 2020 election, and Election Director Stuart Harvey says they were very successful in the general election. . “The vote-by-mail ballots that were returned, 75% of them came back to us by drop box. 75% of the ballots came back by drop box,”: he said. “By contrast, in the primary, only 15% of our ballots came back.”
Last year, every registered voter was sent a mail-in ballot for the Primary Election. In the General Election, anyone who wanted to vote by mail had to mail in an application form and receive their ballots in mail.
Harvey told elected officials that mail-in voting could increase voter turnout.. “And I would hope you would see the numbers that Middletown and Brunswick saw when they went to vote by mail in 2020. They, of course, only had a general election. But their turnout for their municipal general election was approaching 40% in both cases,” he said.
For those who don’t want to vote by mail, Mitchell says about two or three in-person voting centers will still be available. “And as voting centers, they’re not precincts so any voter in the city can go to either of the voting centers. There would not be a requirement to go to a certain one,” he said.
Mitchell said there will be need to be a change in the city’s code to allow for provisional voting, where a citizen would be allowed to vote even if there are questions about that person’s registration, change of address or other issues. It would be determined after the election whether that vote would count.
“There will not be any early in-person voting,”: says Mitchell. “Since we’re encouraging mail-in voting, we didn’t feel the need to have in-person, early voting.”
The Aldermen are expected to decide this proposal at a later date. But a majority of them seemed favorable to the idea of mail-in voting, and the use of drop boxes for the 2021 municipal election.
By Kevin McManus