State Roundup: State tells voters to ignore ‘vague’ USPS election instructions

State Roundup: State tells voters to ignore ‘vague’ USPS election instructions

The top of a Montgomery County ballot.

STATE: IGNORE VAGUE USPS INFO ON VOTE BY MAIL: Maryland election officials are asking voters to ignore the postcard with election instructions they received from the U.S. Postal Service and instead seek information from the state’s website, Emily Opilo of the Sun is reporting. The postcards, which began arriving last week, offer generic instructions about voting by mail. But because the mailing was designed to be sent to voters across the country, an included checklist is intentionally vague, state election administrator Linda Lamone said last week.

  • Lamone reportedly asked Postal Service officials to stop the mailing, which has sparked outrage of election officials across the United States in recent days, writes Bennett Leckrone for Maryland Matters. Officials in Colorado went so far as to sue over the card, leading a judge to issue a temporary halt on the mailings.

BALLOT ACCESS FOR INCARCERATED VOTERS: Voting rights advocates announced Monday that the Maryland State Board of Elections is partnering with nonprofit organizations to expand absentee ballot access to eligible incarcerated voters, Hannah Gaskill reports in Maryland Matters.

B’MORE VOTING CENTERS ANNOUNCED: Baltimore will offer 24 voting centers and another eight early voting centers this fall, according to a plan approved by the State Board of Elections late last week. Emily Opilo of the Sun writes that the voting centers can be used by any voter in a jurisdiction who wants to cast their ballot in person in November.

MARYLAND IS 6th MOST VACCINATED STATE: Former Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Joshua Sharfstein said he is not surprised that a recent survey ranked Maryland near the top among states with the most vaccinated residents and dismissed a national poll suggesting that one of three people would not take the Covid-19 vaccine once it becomes available. “I’m not that surprised. I think we’ve always had a strong vaccine effort in the state,” Sharfstein told Bryan Renbaum of MarylandReporter.com in a phone interview on Monday.

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SHAKEUP AT METRO: Metro on Monday named a former assistant general manager to run and reform its embattled Rail Operations Control Center, the latest of internal shake-ups after a blistering audit this month revealed a host of safety and workplace issues, Justin George of the Post writes.

MD EPISCOPAL CHURCH COMMITS TO REPARATIONS: The Maryland diocese of the Episcopal Church has become the latest religious institution to commit to making reparations for slavery and systemic racism, voting over the weekend to create a $1 million seed fund for programs that would benefit the African American community in Baltimore and beyond, Jonathan Pitts of the Sun reports.

B’MORE TO TAP $25M IN RAINY DAY FUND: Baltimore’s spending panel is being asked to authorize the withdrawal of up to $25 million from the city’s “Rainy Day Fund,” a rare request that finance officials say is necessary to balance the budget after it was hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, Talia Richman of the Sun reports.

  • While the city got $103 million from the CARES stimulus package passed by Congress last March, it can only use those funds for Covid-related expenses and not for closing budget deficits, Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew reports.

PARENTS MUST ‘OPT-OUT’ OF SOME ED CLASSES FOR KIDS: Carroll County Public Schools teachers must be diligent this year in reaching out to parents who don’t complete and return permission forms for their children to participate in certain health subjects. The proposal cited Code of Maryland Regulations that state Family Life and Human Sexuality will now be “opt-out” instead of “opt-in” for elementary, middle, and high school students, Pat Stoetzer of the Carroll County Times reports.

ARUNDEL COUNCILMAN TESTS POSITIVE: Anne Arundel County Councilman Andrew Pruski has tested positive for COVID-19 he said in a statement, writes Eye on Annapolis. The councilman said he was tested out of an abundance of caution and is currently isolating himself from his family and others. He was asymptomatic.

3 WESTMINSTER HIGH STAFFERS TEST POSITIVE: Three staff members at Westminster High School tested positive for COVID-19 last week and the school system is working with the Carroll County Health Department on a response that includes contact tracing, quarantining and deep cleaning, reports Bob Blubaugh for the Carroll County Times.

WA CO OFFERS MORE FREE TESTING SITES: The Washington County Health Department has scheduled more testing dates for free walk-up COVID-19 testing, including in Hagerstown and Smithsburg. Julie Greene reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail that the health department has been expanding mobile testing to help reach “vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations.”

MO CO SCHOOLS TO GET $34M FOR INTERNET ACCESS, TECH: Roughly $34 million in federal funding is set to go to the Montgomery County Public Schools to ensure that students have enough access to internet and technology, as well as tutoring, Briana Adhikusuma of Bethesda Beat reports.

CONTROVERSIAL SEAT PLEASANT MAYOR WINS 5th TERM: The mayor of a small Maryland city who sparked a series of controversies over his long tenure, including most recently being stripped of his power following a sexual harassment complaint, won a fifth term in the election on Monday, Rachel Chason of the Post is reporting.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online news outlet, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at: cynthiaprairie@gmail.com

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