Political Notes: Hogan to Deliver Final Annual Address, Mail-in Ballot Applications Sent, and a New Broadband Effort
Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. will deliver his final State of the State Address on Wednesday evening in a virtual ceremony.
While governors have historically delivered the address to a mid-day joint session of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates, the address has been pushed to a prime-time virtual affair for the second year in a row by COVID-19.
Hogan will speak from the OId Senate Chamber, highlighting the history of the Maryland State House; this year marks the 250th anniversary of the beginning of construction of the building, with the original cornerstone laid on March 28, 1772.
The address will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on Maryland Public Television, which will also present a Democratic response from state Sen. William C. Smith, Jr. (D-Montgomery).
Hogan will also stream his remarks on social media.
Board of Elections sending mail-in ballot requests
If you want to vote by mail in the 2022 primary election, keep an eye on your mailbox starting this week.
The State Board of Elections is mailing request forms for mail-in ballots to more than three million registered voters, with those forms expected to start hitting mailboxes later this week, according to a Monday press release.
Voters who want a mail-in ballot will need to return the completed form to the State Board of Elections by June 21 for the primary election, according to the release. Return envelopes with paid postage are included with the mailer.
Voters can also request mail-in ballots online if they have a driver’s license or identification card from the MVA, according to the release. Request forms are also available at local boards of elections.
The first round of mail-in ballot request forms are being sent to voters who are registered Democrats or Republicans, according to the release. Another round will be sent out to voters who aren’t registered with either of those parties if there is a contested school board primary election in their district.
After the primary election, all registered voters will receive mail-in ballot request forms. Learn more about how to register to vote here.
New nonprofit to expand broadband access formed
The regional director of government affairs for Comcast will step down later this month to establish a new nonprofit focused on closing the digital divide.
Josh Bokee, a former Frederick alderman who has been with Comcast for 15 years, is founding Connect for Broadband, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting unserved families and individuals in need to high-speed broadband.
Bokee’s last day with Comcast will be Feb. 11.
Connect for Broadband will focus on helping communities with existing broadband infrastructure take full advantage of affordability programs. The nonprofit is being established at a “pivotal time,” Bokee said, as new programs and funding have been created to remove cost as a barrier.
“We’ll use a collective impact model and, through partnerships with local governments and organizations, leverage the expertise of those who are already successfully working to improve lives,” Bokee said in a statement. “The pandemic has stretched the capacity for many and yet we need to take action now to connect those who need broadband.”
Connect for Broadband will operate within the Nonprofit Village incubator in Rockville.