JUDGE OKS ONLINE BALLOTS: Spencer Hsu and Jenna Johnson report in the Post that a federal judge on Thursday ordered Maryland to allow disabled voters in November to fill out absentee ballots online before printing and mailing them to election officials.
- The ruling was sought by a group of disabled voters and the National Federation of the Blind, who say the tool will make it easier for people with disabilities to cast ballots without relying on another person, writes the Sun’s Ian Duncan.
- Bryan Sears of the Daily Record is reporting that state officials say they are prepared to implement an online ballot-marking tool for this year’s general election, in the wake of a U.S. District Court ruling issued Thursday. Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator at the Maryland State Board of Elections, said the controversial method for filling in an absentee ballot will be ready for use by Friday, Sept. 19, in order to comply with the 2009 federal Military and Overseas Voting Empowerment Act.
PANEL ON POLICE-DISABLED INTERACTIONS: Gov. Martin O’Malley will meet next week with a commission he created in response to the death in custody of a man with Down syndrome to hear about the panel’s progress in devising training for law enforcement officers and others in dealing with the intellectually and developmentally disabled, the AP is reporting in the Daily Record.
DEM DONORS IN RED ARUNDEL: Anne Arundel’s heart might belong to the Republicans, but the Democrats clearly have a lock on its wallet, writes political columnist Rick Hutzell in the Annapolis Capital. As of the most recent campaign finance reports, 59 donors based in the county contributed $500 or more to Larry Hogan, the Republican candidate for governor. That doesn’t count tens of thousands that Hogan, his company and his family contributed. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democratic candidate, has pulled in big checks from 74 county donors.
SCHUH-JOHNSON DEBATES: With the campaign season under way, Democrat George Johnson and Republican Steve Schuh are readying for a series of debates in their bids to become Anne Arundel County executive. The candidates are scheduled to meet Oct. 6. The debate will be moderated by Capital editor Steve Gunn, who will ask questions submitted by the public, Rema Rahman writes in the Annapolis Capital.
FORMER VA GOV. FOR VENKATESAN: Former Republican governor of Virginia, George Allen came to Howard County on Thursday to talk up the candidacy of state Senate hopeful Jody Venkatesan in District 13 and other candidates at a Clarksville ballroom, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.
O’MALLEY STUMPS FOR ‘TEAM O:’ John Wagner of the Post writes that In his latest bid to build good will among fellow Democrats, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley asked his supporters Thursday to steer donations to five candidates around the country that he dubbed “the O’Team.” They are Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who is running for re-election; Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who is running for Senate; Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who is running against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); Maine Rep. Mike Michaud, who is running for governor; and Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, who is running for lieutenant governor.
- The two Senate races, which are taking place in early presidential states, are among the most competitive in the nation. Republicans are angling to pick up the six seats they would need to control the Senate for the first time since 2006, writes John Fritze for the Sun.
O’MALLEY HEADS TO ASHEVILLE: Another stop has been added to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s busy fall political schedule: the picturesque mountains of Asheville, N.C., writes John Wagner in the Post. O’Malley, who is gearing up for a potential 2016 White House bid, has been booked as the keynote speaker for the North Carolina Democratic Party’s annual Western Gala.
O’MALLEY PUSHES D.C. OLYMPICS: Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday put his support behind efforts to bring the 2024 Olympics to the greater Washington-D.C. area. The term-limited governor added his voice to that of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray in backing the endeavor, which could cost billions if approved, writes Erin Cox in the Sun.
STUDENT LOAN DEBT: Noting that student loan debt in the U.S. has ballooned to roughly $1 trillion, U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin spoke with students at Bowie State University on Thursday to draw attention to a proposal Democrats will push next week to allow borrowers to refinance their student loans, reports John Fritze for the Sun.. “In this country you can refinance a yacht but you can’t refinance your student loan,” Mikulski said. “We want students to have a fair shot at lowering their debt interest rates.”
- Enormous student debt — averaging $25,000, give or take — means young people have limited financial ability to buy cars, houses and other earmarks of middle-class life, opines Fraser Smith in a column in the Daily Record. So, it’s not just the feckless 1% that’s killing the American Dream. It’s dumb government policy as well.
HOWARD COUNCIL CAMPAIGN COFFERS: In the close race for Howard County Council in District 1, one candidate’s campaign coffers got a significant boost from a Howard County developer earlier this summer while another candidate’s funds come mostly from out of state, reports Amanda Yeager in the Sun.
NEVERDON’S UPHILL RUN: Russell Neverdon’s effort to win a spot on this year’s election ballot for Baltimore City State’s Attorney would appear to be an uphill proposition – but not without value. It will afford voters a chance to see what Democratic candidate Marilyn Mosby brings to the table.
MORRELL PARK’S VICTORY: A proposed rail-to-truck facility lost its state funding last week, effectively killing the project and handing a win to Morrell Park residents who opposed the project. WYPR-FM commentator Fraser Smith and Fern Shen of the Baltimore Brew talk about why the state changed its mind and what this means for Baltimore City’s hopes to attract more shipping cargo after the expansion of the Panama Canal.
MO CO POLICE & FED WEAPONS: Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said he was “horrified” when he saw images of Ferguson, Mo., police on top of an armored vehicle, pointing weapons at protesters. Police in Montgomery County say there’s a time and a place for using the weaponry, as well as a right and a wrong way to employ it. Montgomery County police have three armored vehicles including a large, mine-resistant truck — valued at $733,000 — that the department obtained from the federal government in July, reports Daniel Leaderman in the Gazette.
ALDERMEN BLAST PETOUTKA: The Sun’s Pamela Wood is reporting that two Annapolis aldermen are asking their city council colleagues to denounce the views of a candidate for County Council — even though the candidate is running for a district that doesn’t include Annapolis. Alderman Kenny Kirby and Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson, both Democrats, will introduce a resolution at Monday night’s city council meeting regarding Republican Anne Arundel County Council candidate Michael Anthony Peroutka and what they say are his “extremist views on civil rights and public education.”