As acts of voter suppression still rage across our country, we need to end unjust tactics and expand the electorate. After receiving an email from the Annapolis Board of Supervisors of Elections, with a survey of polling locations for the 2021 Annapolis elections, it was clear that more should be done for our state’s capital to be a beacon of democracy. We must reform the voting process for the primary election on Sept. 21 and henceforth.
Although I was pleased by the board’s decision to mail primary election ballots to all registered voters, each ward should have at least two voting locations, with at least one in every precinct. Since 2009, when the city became unable to use county schools for elections, not all wards have had access to two voting locations. Additional dropbox and polling locations in Ward 3 could have included: the Carolyn Butler Community Center, 2nd Baptist Church, and the Annapolis Fire Department Station 35. Limiting every ward to one voting location does not align with the elections board’s goals to “promote voter trust, turnout, convenience, and satisfaction.”
The primary on Sept. 21, will have a generational impact on the outlook of Ward 3. Of nearly 5,000 Ward 3 residents, only 312 voted in the 2017 primary. The BOSE should mail voter registration forms to all unregistered eligible voters, with return postage, starting this election season.
As Ward 3 alderman, I will prioritize electoral partnership with the county/state and other commonsensible voting expansion measures, such as, offering online voting and voter registration for city elections, providing candidate information to all registered voters immediately after the candidate withdrawal deadline, and allowing all tax-paying residents, of age, to vote in our city’s elections.
VOTE: The time has come to save our families, finances, and future!
Keanuú Smith-Brown, Annapolis