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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Non-Tawes political notes: campaign finance miscreants, election timetable, new TV ads, new area code and more

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore with his wife Dawn Flythe Moore and state Sen. Susan Lee (D-Montgomery) at a gathering with 500 leaders of the Asian American & Pacific Islander community on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Sen. Susan Lee.

About 15% of candidates for state and local offices failed to file their most recent campaign finance statements, which were due with the Maryland State Board of Elections on Aug. 30, on time.

That’s almost twice the percentage of candidates that usually fail to meet the campaign finance reporting deadline, Jared DeMarinis, director of candidacy and campaign finance at the State Board of Elections, told board members Wednesday.

Those latest campaign finance statements, known as “pre-general 1” reports, cover fundraising and spending activity from July 4 to Aug. 23 — a period that included the two weeks before the July 19 primaries and the month that followed them.

DeMarinis said candidates fail to file their campaign reports on time for a variety of reasons, but that the number usually spikes immediately after a primary.

“A lot of people that lost in the primary often forget,” he said.

Within a week after the deadline, the Board of Elections typically sends gentle reminders to stragglers through email and postcards, DeMarinis said, and the noncompliance rate tends to shrink pretty quickly. After about a week, he said, the number of candidates that hadn’t filed reports fell considerably. “Overall, that last 8% is one of those things that we never get.”

DeMarinis said the rest of the non-filers are turned over to the State Prosecutor’s Office, which can impose fines, negotiate settlements or, on occasion, initiate legal action.

Some important election dates

Speaking of the upcoming election, the Maryland State Board of Elections on Wednesday announced some key administrative dates and activities as Election Day approaches.

The state board said that mail-in ballot packets were transmitted to military and overseas voters who had requested them by the federally mandated Sept. 24 deadline and that mailing ballot packets to other requesting voters will begin Thursday. The state also said ballot packets will be mailed to voters in specific jurisdictions over the following days:

  • Thursday: Allegany, Caroline, Carroll, Dorchester, Somerset and Worcester counties
  • Friday: Anne Arundel, Calvert, Cecil and Charles counties
  • Saturday: Frederick, Garrett and Montgomery counties
  • Monday: Harford, Howard, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Prince George’s counties
  • Tuesday: Baltimore City and St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington and Wicomico counties
  • Oct. 5: Baltimore County

On Thursday, the State Board of Elections will begin sending the first round of emails with unique ballot links to U.S.-based voters who have requested their ballots electronically.

Earlier this week, the state began the process of delivering and installing official ballot drop boxes across Maryland. It will take about five days to deliver and install all 281 ballot drop boxes. A list of the ballot box locations is available online (and in Spanish).

Voters who choose to use ballot drop boxes may submit their properly completed mail-in ballots at any official drop box as long as that box is in their county of residence. Ballots may be submitted from the time a ballot box is installed and opened until Election Day, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. Ballot boxes will be locked promptly at 8 p.m. on Election Day.

The advance deadline to register to vote is Oct. 18. Eligible Marylanders can register to vote using the state elections board’s online application page or by completing an application in-person at their local board of elections office.

The deadline to request that a mail-in ballot be sent by the U.S. Postal Service is Nov. 1. The deadline to request a link to a mail-in ballot is Nov. 4.

Early voting is going to take place Oct. 27-Nov. 3. The final list of early voting centers is posted here (and in Spanish). Some early voting center locations changed following July’s primary. Early voting centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The complete list of Election Day polling places is posted toward the bottom of the board of elections’ 2022 Elections landing page under “Polling Place and Precinct Reports.” The best option for individual voters to identify their polling place is to use the Voter Look-Up website. Election Day polling places will be open Nov. 8 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Mizeur on the air

Heather Mizeur, the Democratic nominee in the 1st congressional district, began running a 30-second TV ad this week in the Baltimore market; it also soon will be seen in the Salisbury market.

The ad features two distinctly Eastern Shore community leaders, speaking to the camera from downtown Cambridge — Jeff Powell, a developer and Republican former Dorchester County commissioner, and Johnny Shockley, a third-generation waterman from Hoopers Island who is a political independent.

“I usually vote straight Republican,” Powell says.

“I’m an independent voter,” Shockley says. “But we agree on one thing — ”

“Heather Mizeur,” both men say in unison. They go on to talk about Mizeur’s background and mindset, her role in the community, and her desire to get things done regardless of which political party it helps.

The ad ends with Mizeur and the two men walking along the Cambridge waterfront.

“Heather’s the real deal,” Powell says.

The Mizeur campaign indicated that it plans to run the spot throughout the election. Her Republican opponent, six-term U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, is not yet on the airwaves.

Haire crosses out Pittman

Anne Arundel County Councilmember Jessica Haire (R) began airing a new 30-second TV spot Wednesday in her bid to oust County Executive Steuart Pittman (D). Speaking to the camera as she picks up her daughters from softball practice, Haire begins by discussing the to-do lists that most families routinely put together.

“Every mom’s got a list,” she says, as images of a check-list fill the screen. “Kids. Work. School. Carpool.

“But what about Anne Arundel County’s list, the issues we need to address? Ignoring problems doesn’t fix them. We need hands-on leadership. And someone who’s solved a problem or two.”

Haire goes on to tout her credentials as an attorney and civil engineer, then presents her wish-list for the county on a yellow legal pad:

  1. Cut property and income tax
  2. Provide funding for police and public safety
  3. More teachers, more buses
  4. Less politics

“Local leadership matters,” Haire says at the ad’s conclusion, as item No. 5 appears on the screen and she crosses it out: Steuart Pittman.

Called to serve on resiliency authority

Speaking of Pittman, he and Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley (D) on Wednesday released the list of people they have selected to serve on the board of directors of the new Anne Arundel County Resilience Authority.

The county and city partnered to establish the authority as a quasi-governmental organization in 2021 to identify and finance the construction of projects that address the impacts of climate change. The two governments announced in May that they had hired an interim director for the authority, so the selection of a board stands as the next step.

“There is no capital city in America that faces a more serious threat from sea level rise than Annapolis,” Buckley said in a statement. “Right now, we are investing to rebuild and shore up City Dock, but that is just one of more than 17 miles of shoreline in the city.”

Pittman’s appointees to the authority are: Jamie Benoit, a former Anne Arundel County Councilmember and chair and CEO of Information Analysis, Inc.; Teresa Sutherland, CPA; Veronique Bugnion, CEO of Clearly Energy, Inc. and a Johns Hopkins University professor of climate finance; Stacy Schaeffer, land conservation expert at RES; Mike Sewell, safety director at Ernest Maier, Inc.; Emily Clifton, associate executive director of Low Impact Development Center; and Mariah Davis, senior policy and campaigns manager at Choose Clean Water Coalition/National Wildlife Federation.

They will serve with Buckley’s appointees: Jared Littmann, owner of K&B True Value; Nate Betnum, who is self-employed; and Vince Leggett, founder, Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation

“This board is exactly the diversity of experience and professionalism that we were seeking,” Pittman said.

The authority’s first meeting will be held on Oct. 25.

Calling from the 227

This isn’t political news necessarily, but it’s hard to ignore.

The Maryland Public Service Commission on Wednesday announced the assignment of 227 as a new area code that will eventually serve the same geographic area in Maryland currently served by the 240 and 301 area codes.

The remaining supply of available telephone numbers in the 240/301 area is projected to be exhausted in the second quarter of 2023 — requiring the establishment of a new area code to support future demands in the region. Customers with a 240 or 301 area code will maintain their existing area codes and their phone numbers will not change.