City of Annapolis
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Annapolis, Maryland 21401
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Annapolis Vote-by-Mail Elections Can Proceed
After Court of Appeals Rejects Lawsuit
Annapolis, MD (August 19, 2021) – The Court of Appeals of Maryland ruled Thursday morning that vote-by-mail elections can proceed for the upcoming 2021 Primary and General elections to select municipal leaders in the capital city of Annapolis. Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera signed the order denying a hearing on the case stating that there was nothing to show that a review “is desirable and in the public interest.”
City Attorney D. Michael Lyles said, “I am happy that the petition was denied. We believe mail-in-voting will be necessary going forward, especially as we focus on public health precautions and navigate our way out of the pandemic.”
Lyles went on to praise the chair of the Board of Supervisors of Elections (BOSE) Eileen Leahy, who was a named subject in the lawsuit and City Clerk Regina Watkins-Eldridge who is responsible for administering municipal elections in the City. “Our team has worked to ensure the integrity of this election despite attempts to disrupt it with this legal action,” Lyles added.
In late July, two Annapolis residents filed suit in Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County to stop the BOSE and the City Finance Department from moving forward on a plan to conduct the 2021 municipal elections by sending ballots to every registered voter. On August 9, 2021, Circuit Court Judge Glenn L. Klavans dismissed that lawsuit. The plaintiffs then turned to the Court of Appeals.
“I’m happy it is over. We knew we had the legal right to conduct our elections in this way, and I’m glad the courts agreed,” said Mayor Gavin Buckley. “I want to congratulate the Office of Law, especially assistant city attorneys Joel Braithwaite and Ashley Leonard.”
The City will begin mailing ballots on August 30 to registered voters in Wards 3, 4 and 8 - the only wards with contested primary elections this cycle. In November, every registered voter in the City will receive a General Election ballot which can be returned by mail or dropped in a drop box at any one of eight voting precincts. Voters retain the right to vote in-person at their local precinct on election days: Sept. 21 for the Primary and Nov. 2 for the General Election. For information: www.annapolis.gov/elections.
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