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Maryland Officials Explore Vendors for November Election

A voter waits to drop off a mail-in ballot.
Hannah Yoon/Getty

Officials in Maryland are evaluating companies that can print and mail ballots for the general election after a number of issues came up with the state's current vendor during the primary season.

The state Board of Elections on Thursday sent a report to Gov. Larry Hogan that explains what officials are doing to avoid similar issues in November, the Baltimore Sun reported. The June 2 primary was the state's first primarily mail-in election as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and problems arose across the state.

In Prince George's County, voters first received instructions that were only in Spanish, while in Baltimore some ballots were printed incorrectly and also delivered late. Voters in Montgomery County also got their ballots later than planned, and in Hagerstown residents were not mailed a court-ordered notice.

Vendor SeaChange previously said state officials were late in sending it the necessary voter lists.

“In response to the performance of the vendor, evaluate all options, including options under the current contract and identifying other vendors capable of printing and mailing customized mailpieces," according to the report sent to Hogan. "On May 22, the state board issued a Request for Information. Six vendors responded and are preparing to submit test ballots.”

The newspaper reported the state's contract with SeaChange runs through December.

The board was expected to include in its report a recommendation on how November's election should be conducted, but its five members could not reach an agreement during a meeting Tuesday. The three Republicans voted in favor of a new system in which all voters would receive applications for mail-in ballots, while the two Democrats favored a mostly mail-in election like June's but with more in-person voting sites.

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The board included in its report considerations for and against those options, as well as of a third possibility: a traditional election with many polling locations.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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