A story in the June 6th Business Insider publication reports that mail voting was handled well in certain states for last Tuesday’s primary, and poorly in others. Getting good marks, according to the BI story, are Iowa, Michigan, and Montana. Doing poorly, where voters were not sent their ballots, receiving incorrect ballots for their districts, or facing crowded polling stations for those who chose to vote in person, were the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
With voter turnout being way down in Pennsylvania, for example (34% under 2016 Democratic primary participation totals and 55% for Republicans), a great deal of the reasoning for such a steep fall off could be that thousands of voters simply weren’t well enough informed that the April 28th election had been moved to June 2nd. We will be hearing much more about the all-mail experience while undoubtedly seeing calls for increasing mail options for this year’s general election.
A total of 24 states will host nomination elections in June, ten of which are postponed from earlier dates. Tomorrow is the biggest day, with ten states holding elections. Eight will vote in their presidential primaries (Iowa and Idaho held their presidential nominating votes earlier in the year).
June 2nd hosts regular state primaries on their originally scheduled date in Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has postponed the presidential and state primary to July 7th, thus opting out of its traditional early June nomination date because of Coronavirus precautions.
A presidential stand-alone event is occurring in Rhode Island tomorrow, necessary since their regular state primary is scheduled as one of the latest in the country on September 15th. Postponed state primaries from earlier in the year are happening in the District of Columbia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Currently, 22 states have adopted some type of election law changes that will allow more mail voting to various degrees for at least their upcoming primary elections.
To the more extreme extent, five states, according to the Ballotpedia organization, are doing away with the application process and simply sending absentee ballots to every voter. They are: California, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, and New Jersey. Lawsuits to institute similar changes or make even more drastic alterations such as allowing ballot harvesting and extending the deadline to return the ballot to ten days past the election, are alive in nine additional states.
In an election that was a foregone conclusion after Kweisi Mfume won the special Democratic primary on February 4th, the former Congressman completed his political comeback with a 73-27% win over sacrificial Republican Kim Klacik last night. Mr. Mfume left the House in 1996 to assume the Presidency of the NAACP. In 2006, he returned to elective politics with an unsuccessful run for Senate.
The former Congressman will now again be sworn into the House to serve the balance of the current term and appear on the ballot in the delayed June 2nd primary and likely November for the full term. Mr. Mfume replaces the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore) who passed away in October.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who first moved Maryland’s April 28th primary to June 2nd as a Coronavirus precaution, signed legislation to send all voters an absentee ballot and limit the number of in-person polling places for the upcoming intra-party contests.
Surprisingly, a group of Maryland Democratic state legislators have asked Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to reinstate an in-person option for the state’s June 2nd primary. Originally, the vote was scheduled for April 28th. This move is opposite of most requests we see being made in other places, which center around moving to all-mail voting. Gov. Hogan has reportedly not yet responded to the request.
With former US Rep. Kweisi Mfume scoring a decisive win in the Democratic special election primary last week, three of his opponents have removed themselves from further competition. State Delegates Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore City) and Terri Hill (D-Baltimore/Howard Counties), along with college professor Michael Higginbotham all announced they will remove their names from the regular primary election to be decided April 23rd. Also, on that day, Mr. Mfume will easily win the special general election to fill the balance of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-Baltimore) final term and would then take office in the succeeding days.
In the primary election, Ex-Rep. Mfume received 43% of the vote against 23 opponents. Dels. Hill and Branch received 7.4 and 1.1%, respectively, while Dr. Higginbotham garnered 4.5% of the Democratic vote.
Though Iowa is getting virtually all of the electoral news coverage, the late Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-Baltimore) vacant US House seat was ostensibly filled last night as former Congressman Kweisi Mfume, who resigned from the House in 1996 to head the NAACP, easily won (43%) the special Democratic primary and will now advance to what will be a sure win in the special general election on April 28th.
Ironically, it was Mr. Cummings who replaced Mr. Mfume when the latter man left office in mid-term 24 years ago and now the tables turn after the late Congressman’s death. In a distant second place was the Congressman’s widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings (17%), with state Senator Jill Carter (D-Baltimore) following (16%). The other 21 candidates on the Democratic ballot did not reach 5,000 votes apiece.
As candidate filing was closing yesterday for the special election to replace the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore), state Delegate and physician Jay Jalisi (D-Owings Mills) became the 22nd Democrat who will battle for the nomination. It is now obvious that the Congressman’s widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, becoming a candidate did not dissuade others from filing. Also running are state Sen. Jill Carter (D-Baltimore), former Congressman and NAACP president Kweisi Mfume, state House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore), and state Delegate and surgeon Terri Hill (D-Columbia).
Former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D), who left office with poor ratings after the Baltimore riots, announced that she will not enter the special election to replace the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore).
Fifteen Democrats are declared special election candidates including the Congressman’s widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings. State Sen. Jill Carter (D-Baltimore), state House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore), and former Congressman and NAACP president Kweisi Mfume are the other leading candidates. The winner of the Democratic primary on February 4th will win the special general election scheduled for April 28th. The candidate filing deadline is November 20th.
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