“Md. Gov. Larry Hogan says he tried to expand access to voting. Instead, he sparked a revolt”

From the Washington Post:

When Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced an all-of-the-above strategy to conduct “a normal” election in November, he cast it as a decision to maximize voter access during the coronavirus pandemic.

A massive backlash ensued.

Over the past three weeks, the custodians of hundreds of traditional polling precincts have said they will refuse to host voters, or conditioned participating on the government paying to deep-clean and sanitize their churches or community centers….

The organization is meeting with Hogan’s deputy chief of staff soon to lobby for voting centers in places like stadiums or other large venues that can process thousands of voters, spread far apart, with minimal staff.

Hogan, meanwhile, has steadfastly rejected the criticism and deflected responsibility for how the election should be conducted in November, saying the Board of Elections should have already figured this out….

Maryland appears to stand alone for having widespread backlash to its in-person voting alternative to supplement absentee balloting….

My goal is to give everybody every possible opportunity to vote,” he said, adding that the state will provide all the personal protective equipment necessary to operate the polls.

Garreis, a deputy elections administrator in Anne Arundel County, said the costs of that are enormous: He estimated that getting plexiglass shields to separate 6,000 election check-in judges from voters could add up to $1 million just for his county….

Others, like Karen Nitkin of Howard County, are coming forward for the first time, drawn by what they see as the urgency of the situation.

“It is almost, literally, the least I could do,” said Nitkin, whose daughter waited in line for three hours to vote in an understaffed Georgia precinct during the primary. When Nitkin filled out her absentee ballot application in Maryland, she checked the box asking if she was willing to be an election judge.

She’s concerned about the health risk, but she’s confident in the precautions and willing to withstand it for one day, especially because others are taking similar risks just to earn a paycheck.

“I wouldn’t want to do it every day,” she said. “But there are people who work at Target every day, and I wouldn’t want to do that either. If there’s ever an essential service, this is it.”

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