CAROZZA ANNOUNCES SMITH ISLAND VOTERS CAN VOTE IN PERSON ON ELECTION DAY
Senator Mary Beth Carozza today announced that Smith Island voters can vote in person on Smith Island on Election Day, 2020 and thanked the people of Smith Island, specifically Pastor Everett Landon, for their tireless efforts to advocate for in-person voting on Smith Island on Election Day. Carozza also recognized and thanked the local Somerset County Board of Elections, Commissioner Randy Laird, Delegate Charles Otto, and Congressman Andy Harris for their work in support of the voters of Smith Island.
Senator Carozza, who is a member of the Senate committee with oversight of the Maryland elections process, worked directly with the State and local board of elections to push for in-person voting on Smith Island. Last month, it was announced that the residents of Smith Island would not have access to in-person voting during the November 2020 Election.
“This was a total team effort to ensure that Smith Island voters could vote in person on Election Day. All of us were deeply concerned that the reduction in polling locations would disenfranchise Smith Island voters. We pointed out that with no polling location on Smith Island, voters who wanted to vote in person would be burdened with the cost of a boat ride and the risk and inconvenience to travel to the mainland to vote,” said Carozza. “Allowing in-person voting on Smith Island for one day is fully consistent with Governor Hogan’s request to facilitate maximum voter participation, minimize confusion and minimize risk. No other place in Maryland but Smith Island faces this situation.”
In an email from the Maryland Administrator of Elections Linda Lamone sent to Senator Carozza, “… I advised the Somerset County Board of Elections that the voters on Smith Island should be provided with the opportunity to vote in person on Election Day. However to mitigate the issues with the poll books, the voters should not have their ballots scanned into the voting system until their voting status can be confirmed by the local board of elections. By this I mean, the local board determines that none of the Smith Island voters have inadvertently voted twice. As we discussed, the local board will work with the Smith Island voters to arrange for the voting to be completed as early as possible on Election Day so the ballots can be transferred to the local board office for canvassing and scanning on Election Day.”
“While we understand the extraordinary challenges that COVID-19 has presented in dramatically reducing the overall number of voting sites across Maryland, going from 1,800 in a normal election year to approximately 315 during COVID-19, we needed to protect the voting rights of Smith Island voters to vote in person on Election Day,” said Carozza. “We also expect Smith Island to return as a normal polling location in the 2022 election.”
Senator Carozza, who is the only State Senator representing Somerset County in the Maryland State Senate and who regularly visits Smith Island, uses her position on the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, which has oversight over election matters, to ensure the integrity of the voting process and preserving the sanctity of one person one vote.