Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) seems not to have learned them. He presided over a largely mail-in primary election in his state last month that saw strong turnout based on extremely high levels of absentee voting — but that also encountered some problems. Absentee ballots failed to reach everyone who wanted one, and polling place closures caused lines for those who sought to vote in person. So Mr. Hogan decided on Wednesday to reverse course and treat the November vote like a more routine election. His reaction may cause more problems than it solves.
Mr. Hogan’s most controversial decision was to decline sending mail-in ballots to all voters, and instead sending out absentee ballot request forms. Maryland election officials warned the governor that adding the extra step of processing absentee ballot applications would create a massive new burden with which the state may not be able to cope. This is what happened in Wisconsin’s disastrous April primary, in which many voters did not receive their absentee ballots in time to cast them, despite requesting them on time. The District saw similar problems in its June special election, and the city’s leaders have since decided to ditch the application process and send out ballots directly.