State election board votes against adding Hancock early voting site

by Geoff Fox

In a virtual meeting on November 3 that lasted less than 10 minutes election officials voted 3-2 against having an early election site at Hancock Town Hall for the 2024 election.

Washington County Commissioners had voted to add the site for voters in the western part of the county, but county and state election officials weighed in differently.

The first two minutes of the Friday public meeting were conducted in silence on the public viewing on both the Maryland State Board of Elections website and YouTube.

The State Board of Election said they had received letters in support of the early voting site in Hancock, but did not reveal what was in those letters or discuss them. Assistant Attorney General Dan Kobrin, who is identified as counsel to the board, said the vote last Friday was a matter of “best practice transparency” and allowed all members present to record their position. Board Member Janet Millenson wanted to find out if there had been any investigation in Washington County for enhancing transportation to the early election sites under normal schedules.

Board Member Carlos Ayala asked if there would be a discussion, however Chairman Michael Summers said there would be none at that time.

Summers then called for a vote.

Voting in favor of Hancock having an early voting site were Ayala and Vice Chair Jared DeMarinis. Voting against were Summers, Millenson, and Board Member Yaakov “Jake” Weissmann.

“The vote to approve fails,” Summers said in the online meeting.

Summers said they did receive “quite a bit” of requests to comment on the matter, which were in favor of the Hancock site, and were submitted into the record.

Kobrin told Summers the Board’s actions would be transmitted to the Washington County Board of Elections so that body can take the next step in the process.

Ultimately, it is the county board that has to approve the number and location of early voting sites in Washington County.