by Kate Shunney
Republican party leaders in Washington County are arguing that election officials need to pick a different early voting site for the June primary to provide access to more county voters.
Seth Wilson, president of the Washington County Republican Central Committee, has reportedly asked judges to review the decision to put a second early voting location at the Washington County Free Library in downtown Hagerstown. The county’s original early voting site is at the Washington County Election Board office in Halfway.
The Republican Committee is arguing that having two early voting sites within two miles of each other around Hagerstown misses an opportunity to serve voters in the outer towns and cities of Washington County.
In making the argument, Wilson reportedly said voters in towns like Hancock could be better served by an early voting center closer to them than downtown Hagerstown.
Washington County must have two early voting sites because there are more than 50,000 registered voters in the county. With 99,043 active voters as of the end of 2021, the county is close to needing a third early voting site, according to state law.
County residents have until June 7 to register to vote in the June primary or change their voter affiliation.
Early voting begins on June 16 and runs through June 23. Maryland’s primary election is held on June 28.
Ballot drop boxes in Hancock
In other election news, county elections officials in December approved locating a ballot drop box in Hancock at the Town Hall near the parking lot entrance. The box will be a place where voters can deposit absentee ballots after they’ve been filled in.
Absentee voting became more important during voting in the 2020 presidential election because of COVID lockdowns and concerns about public gathering spaces where the disease could spread.
Ballot drop boxes were designed around the county as a way for registered voters to cast their ballots without traveling to Hagerstown or trusting their completed ballot to mail delivery. Many around the country had concerns about security and delivery times for mailed ballots.
There are now a total of six ballot drop boxes throughout Washington County.
Registered voters have until June 21 to request a mail-in ballot for the June 28 primary.