Citizens of Maryland’s Smith Island will be able to vote in person on Election Day after all.
The Maryland Board of Elections has decided to provide an in-person polling location, which was very much in doubt over the summer.
Congressman Andy Harris and State Senator Mary Beth Carozza say they’re pleased Smith Islanders will be able to head to a polling place. Carozza says the lack of a polling place would have required them to board a boat to the mainland to vote in person, putting them at risk of disenfranchisement if the weather does not cooperate.
Polling places are being reduced due to the pandemic. Marylanders also have the option to vote by mail.
“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,” Carozza said. “We also expect Smith Island to return as a normal polling location in the 2022 election.”
“I am very pleased that Smith Island will now have an in-person polling location this fall,” Harris said. “Local residents and elected officials, especially Senator Carozza, deserve credit for helping to provide the ability for Smith Island residents to vote locally, without fear of interruption by weather that might impede their travel to the mainland, thereby avoiding the potential disenfranchisement of my constituents’ voting rights on election day.”