December 28 – In the state of Maryland, residents can vote early in elections if they would like. There are a number of places throughout the state to drop off voting ballots early.
In Washington County, however, there are two – one at the Board of Elections and one at the public library – both of which are in downtown Hagerstown.
Those are the only two drop off spots for all of Washington County.
Some residents on the outer edges of the county aren’t happy with that arrangement, so they took their issues to the courts.
A number of residents in the western region of the county claim they are unfairly denied access to early voting because of the distance they have to travel to get to the drop off points.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “Think, like the Hancock area. They’re basically saying they’re being disenfranchised because they’re 25 miles away from Hagerstown, and it’s too difficult for them to avail themselves of this early voting. So that’s now going to go into court.”
Interestingly, just last fall the Maryland Board of Elections denied a third drop off location for Washington County.
Barkdoll said, “If these voters prevail, you can envision all of the scenarios, not only around Maryland, but just think here even in Franklin County. The drop off location is in Chambersburg at voter registration. If these Maryland voters win, could you see an argument, well I live in Blue Ridge Summit or Concord, in that northern tip of Franklin County, we now need more drop off areas. So this is a case that’s going to get a lot of attention. I think a lot of people even outside of Maryland are going to watch this very closely, because it could impact how early voting works in jurisdictions everywhere. So we’ll watch that.”
The hearing on this case will be held in February.