CommunityWilliam J. Ford

Md. Board of Elections Formally Approves FedEx Field as a Voting Site

The Maryland Board of Elections on Friday approved the use of FedEx Field in Landover as a voting center for the Nov. 3 general election.

The 82,000-seat stadium would allow Prince George’s County voters to cast ballots along the concourse area. It’s also located near the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center, one of the county’s most used election sites.

“We anticipate by having FedEx Field very close it would offset the lines that could potentially occur at the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center,” said county Election Administrator Alisha Alexander. “We want to minimize the crowds on Election Day.”

Prince George’s will now have 41 voting centers available with 11 of them during early voting between Oct. 26 to Nov. 2. Because the state approved to eliminate precinct voting based on a person’s residency in a certain neighborhood, voters can cast ballots at any voting center within a particular jurisdiction in one of the 23 counties and Baltimore City.

This year’s election marks the first time voters can cast ballots by mail, placing it in a ballot drop box outside voting sites, or in person during early voting or on Election Day.

State board members complimented Prince George’s and other local election officials for how they handled staffing and other challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I love how P.G. and these other counties are kind of upping the game,” said board member Bill Voelp. “I think that speaks to how everybody is … working to do what they can to make Election Day and early voting a success.”

Meanwhile, state election officials announced a new company will print mail-in ballots less than two months before the general election.

Taylor Corp. of Minnesota will print the mail-in ballots with about 50 percent of Maryland voters expected to vote by mail.

Maryland Election Administrator Linda Lamone said Taylor Corp. will be able to print more than four million ballots, which equates to the number of estimated voters in the state.

Lamone said another company, Single Point Sourcing of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, will print millions of ballots for early voting and Election Day sites. Sample ballots are also being requested from other vendors “as a continency,” she said.

The previous vendor, SeaChange also of Minnesota, printed out the millions of ballots during the June 2 primary that caused thousands of voters to receive them late.

About 90,000 voters in Prince George’s received voting instructions in Spanish. They later received them in English.

Election officials in a Baltimore City district discovered an error the night of the primary election that caused votes to be re-tabulated.

Gov. Larry Hogan openly criticized the state Board of Elections in June and called the primary election problems “unacceptable.”

State Sen. Jill Carter (D-Baltimore City) expressed her displeasure with the state board last week, especially not approving to send mail-in ballots straight to voters.

“I am very disappointed and dissatisfied. I feel there has been a lot of impediment to democracy. A lot of unnecessary confusion … for voters,” she said. “The process now is absurd. You apply for an application. You receive the application and then you have to fill that out to receive your mail-in ballot. It’s insane.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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