State Roundup: Election officials brace for judge shortages

State Roundup: Election officials brace for judge shortages

Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-Carroll, at podium addresses the crowd outside the House office building in Annapolis Thursday for the Back the Blue rally he and other Republican delegates organized. From Del. Sid Saab's Facebook page.

ELECTIONS EMERGENCY: Maryland’s top election official says it will take $20 million to administer an election according to Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan, which calls for all polls to open and requires voters to request absentee ballots, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.

  • Maryland is short 13,970 election judges, of almost 40,000 total workers, Mike Murillo reports for WTOP. The number comes from David Garreis, president of the Maryland Association of Election Officials, which represents the state’s 24 local election boards.
  • In a creative solution, Maryland’s State Board of Elections might take Hogan up on his offer to encourage state employees to fill election judge vacancies for local election boards across the state, Bennett Leckrone reports for Maryland Matters.
  • Montgomery County Council leaders are not happy the plan requires applications for absentee ballots, Briana Adhikusuma reports for Bethesda Beat. Hogan says the election is following Maryland state law and CDC guidelines to have as many voting options as possible, but he encourages all voters to use absentee ballots.
  • Elections administrators have warned an in-person election could fail because of a lack of workers willing to manage an election during a pandemic, reports Talia Richman for the Sun. Many are retirees who are facing the question if it is worth it to work when they face increased risk from COVID-19.

COMMENTARY: STAY OUT OF OUR CITIES: If the president sends federal agents into their cities like he did in Portland, Baltimore’s States Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner write in an op-ed for the Post that they will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

QUESTIONING UNREST CONCERNS: Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott said he doesn’t necessarily oppose federal agents in the city but said the unrest simply doesn’t exist to necessitate it, Tyler Waldman reports for WTOP.

REOPENING DECISIONS: Del. Brian Chisholm (R-Anne Arundel) praised Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon’s recent decision to allow local jurisdictions flexibility in deciding how and when they wish to reopen for the upcoming school year. “I welcome anytime you put it back at a local level because the closer you are to the situation the better the decisions you’re gonna make,” Chisholm told in a phone interview on Thursday. Bryan Renbaum reports.

JUDGE WEIGHS IN AGAINST DEFUNDING BALTIMORE POLICE: A federal judge overseeing a federal consent decree with Baltimore Police has said “defund the police,” is not an option in Baltimore, Jessica Anderson reports in the Sun. Instead, a plan for police reform is addressed within the decree that came after the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.

  • AFRO looks at the issue from the perspective of a Black resident living in the city who has witnessed several shootings, who said the city still needs to put in the work rather than just restructure or defund, Sean Yoes writes.

POLICE OFFICERS IN HOCO SCHOOLS RE-EVALUATED: Howard County Executive Calvin Ball is calling for a review of the program that places police officers in county public schools, after protests and the Black Lives Matter calling for re-evaluation of the program, Ana Fagay reports for Baltimore Sun Media.

Republican delegates outside the House office building for Back the Blue rally. Photo from Del,. Sid Saab’s Facebook page

RALLY TO SUPPORT POLICE: About a hundred people gathered in Annapolis on Thursday, waving American flags and holding signs with pro-police slogans for a“Back the Blue” rally organized by six Republican Maryland delegates, Brooks Dubose reports for the Capital Gazette.

  • Republican lawmakers and police officials showed their support for officers in the field who have faced loud and very public criticism following the death of George Floyd at the feet of Minneapolis police officers on May 25, Hannah Gaskill reports for Maryland Matters.
  • Retiring Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare spoke at the event and said he had personally almost died five or six times saving a life. “Every one was a person of color. To be called racist because I wear a uniform makes me sick to my stomach,” he said. “I can’t do it anymore and be silent.”

ETHICS PANEL RULES JUDGES SHOULD NOT RALLY FOR BLM: An ethics panel has ruled that Maryland judges should not participate in Black Lives Matter rallies, Steve Lash reports for The Daily Record. The state’s Judicial Ethics Committee concluded in a published opinion issued Wednesday that they should not because the call for justice system reform and harsh criticism of law enforcement would bring the jurists’ impartiality into question when they return to the courtroom.

COMMENTARY: FUTURE GOP DOESN’T LOOK LIKE HOGAN: The jockeying for the post-Trump future of the Republican Party has started and Trump has transformed the Republican party, opines Post columnist Max Boot. Boot believes its future looks a lot more like Tucker Carlson than moderate Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

PROSECUTORS SEEK THREE YEARS FOR GLENN: Federal prosecutors are asking for former Del. Cheryl Glenn to serve a three-year prison sentence, arguing she had made comments about another colleague who got into hot water for not disclosing financial ties, Talia Richman reports for the Sun. She pled guilty in January to soliciting and accepting $33,750 in bribes to carry out political favors.

MOSBY REQUESTS INVESTIGATION OF HER REPORTING: Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has asked the city’s Inspector General to investigate her travel and for-profit businesses, Mark Reutter and Fern Shen report for Baltimore Brew. The call comes after an investigation by the Brew that she called “misleading” revealed Mosby had reported at least $30,000 in 2018 and 2019 travel expenses paid for by nonprofits and other groups.

NEW RESTRICTIONS IN ANNE ARUNDEL: Anne Arundel County will restrict indoor dining hours and limit the size of inside and outside gatherings after county health officials cited an alarming increase in the transmission rate of the COVID-19 virus, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record.

CARROLL TO SHUT DOWN FESTIVALS: After about 1,200 people attended a reggae wine festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum on Sunday, the Carroll County Commissioners banned large gatherings including the Maryland Wine Festival, Mary Grace Keller reports for the Carroll County Times. The wine festival implemented COVID-19 restrictions and had sought health department approval.

FINES FOR NO FACE MASKS: The Talbot County Council will draft an executive order allowing fines for people without a face covering in public or who gather in large groups, Candice Specter reports for The Easton Star-Democrat.

CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS: The number of Marylanders hospitalized with COVID-19 is increasing, growing by 23 patients on Thursday, Marcus Dieterle reports for Baltimore Fishbowl.

  • With 11 new community cases reported Thursday, Carroll County has set a record for the most COVID-19 cases among members of the community outside of congregate living facilities in a single week, Brian Compere reports for the Carroll County Times.
  • In Garrett County, COVID-19 cases are picking up with 35 total cases and many of them in nursing homes, the Garrett County Republican staff reports.
  • The numbers of cases in Washington County are climbing, but so far deaths have remained stable at 29 since July 7, Dave McMillion reports for the Herald-Mail.

MOCO BUDGET FIX TEMPORARY: In a deep dive of Montgomery County’s proposed budget fixes for a shortfall of revenues in the wake of COVID-19, Adam Pagnucco with Seventh State says many cuts are deferrals by simply allowing county positions to go vacant for six months or a year if someone quits. The real strategy behind the cuts is praying for a federal bailout, he blogs.

WYPR STAFF CONSIDER BUYOUTS: The staff at WYPR face a Friday deadline for buyout decisions, Brandon Weigel reports for Baltimore Fishbowl. The station’s budget was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at:

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