Saint Mary’s County — Today, the Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis, and Delegate Brian Crosby (D-St. Mary’s), released the statement below following the revelation that St. Mary’s County will only have a single early voting location.
“This is voter suppression, plain and simple,” said Chair Yvette Lewis, and Del. Brian Crosby. “Voting is the fundamental principle of democracy; there is no right more precious or sacred. By not putting an early vote location in the southern part of the county, St. Mary’s Officials have placed an undue burden on this right. Thirty-five percent of voters in the county live in District 29B, the center of which is fourteen miles away from the Hollywood location. The district is also home to the highest concentration of low-income voters and voters of color in the county. For many, this will be an insurmountable obstacle – everyone deserves the right to vote, not just the young and wealthy.
Not only does this create an extraordinary obstacle to vote, it creates a public health risk. Forcing every voter in the county to the same polling location will put the safety of voters and poll workers at risk. With the threat of COVID-19, we should be having more polling locations, not less.
While we understand these are unprecedented times and the task before the Board is not an easy one, this outcome is a dereliction of duty. We ask the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections to give real consideration to the other multiple early voting locations proposed by the NAACP. If they feel they are unable to fulfill this request, they must detail the steps they will take to ensure every voter has safe access to the ballot box.”
This statement comes as St. Mary’s County announced only a single early vote location, making it the county with the second fewest locations in the state. Garrett county, which has eighty thousand less people, has twice the voting locations. The County Election Board claimed all other proposed options were unavailable for events or “too costly.” However, the Board did not contact the alternative venues to confirm if their event restrictions applied to voting. Despite asking for more details, the Board was unwilling to provide them to Delegate Crosby. You can view Delegate Crosby’s full letter to the County Election Board here.