April 28 Primary Postponed, Vote by Mail for Congressional District 7 Run-off ordered
With a total of at least 57 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (as of mid-day Tuesday) in Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan issued another round of restrictions and reality checks and as part of another series of major actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and maintain essential services.
Governor Larry Hogan issued a proclamation to officially postpone the April 28 primary election until June 2, and to move forward with the 7th Congressional District special general election as scheduled by implementing a vote-by-mail system.
“I have two main priorities—keeping Marylanders safe and protecting their constitutional right to vote,” said Governor Hogan. “I am directing the State Board of Elections to develop a comprehensive plan by April 3 to conduct the primary election in a way that protects public health and preserves the integrity of the democratic process in our state. While there are many valid reasons for unease and uncertainty right now, ensuring that the voices of Maryland citizens are heard shouldn’t be one of them.”
The governor also announced that the state is in active discussions regarding postponement of the Preakness Stakes.
“I know that right now there is a lot of anxiety and stress out there—folks are worried about what lies ahead and how we will get through this,” said Governor Hogan. “We have seen the jarring images of empty streets in Italy and France, and we worry about our family members and loved ones, and about our own communities and neighborhoods. But I want Marylanders to know that if we continue to lead and work together—if we rely on and help each other—we will get through this.”
Below is a comprehensive list of announcements Governor Hogan made today:
PROCLAMATION TO POSTPONE APRIL 28 PRIMARY, IMPLEMENT VOTE-BY-MAIL SYSTEM FOR 7TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT SEAT: In order to protect public health and preserve the integrity of the democratic process, Governor Hogan has issued a proclamation postponing the April 28 primary to June 2. The State Board of Elections is directed to develop a comprehensive plan by April 3 for conducting the primary election in a way that maintains public confidence and trust while preserving public health and safety.
In addition, to ensure that Maryland has full representation in Congress during this crisis, the special general election for the 7th Congressional District will still occur on April 28, but the State Board of Elections is directed to implement a vote-by-mail system. Read the governor’s proclamation.
DISCUSSIONS TO POSTPONE THE PREAKNESS STAKES: Governor Hogan announced that the state is in active discussions to postpone the Preakness Stakes. This follows the announcement earlier today that the Kentucky Derby will not be held in May for the first time in 75 years.
REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF FEDERAL REAL ID DEADLINE: Governor Hogan sent a letter to the Trump administration today on behalf of the nation’s governors to request an extension of the federal REAL ID deadline. Read the REAL ID letter.
CONVERSION OF VEHICLE EMISSIONS INSPECTION CENTERS: Governor Hogan announced that all Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) centers will be shut down, and steps will be taken to turn them into drive-thru testing centers across the state.
BWI AIRPORT TERMINAL: The state is encouraging residents to avoid unnecessary travel, and access to the BWI Marshall Airport terminal will be monitored and strongly discouraged except for passengers who are traveling and employees reporting to their job sites.
MTA SERVICE CHANGES: Consistent with steps taken by Metro, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) will reduce service on MARC and Commuter Bus, while still running transit services with a focus on making sure emergency and health care personnel can get to their jobs. For Mobility customers, service will be continued with a focus on medical appointments, dialysis, pharmacies, and grocery stores only. Read the MTA’s update.
CASHLESS TOLLING: The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) will move to all-cashless tolling statewide to limit interaction between the public and toll collectors. Read the MDTA’s announcement.
MOTOR VEHICLE ADMINISTRATION CHANGES: The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) is implementing a series of operational changes at branch offices and Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) stations statewide. All non-commercial driver skills tests are canceled until further notice. Read the MVA’s announcement.
New Interpretive Guidance. Goovernor Hogan’s Office of Legal Counsel has issued interpretive guidance regarding the governor’s order prohibiting large gatherings and ordering the closure of senior centers, bars, restaurants, gyms, and other facilities. Read the interpretive guidance.
Resources for Businesses. The Maryland Departments of Commerce and Labor have compiled resources to help businesses whose daily operations are affected during the state of emergency. Members of the business community are encouraged to reach out with their questions by sending a message to Secretary.Commerce@maryland.gov.
State of Emergency. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.
For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.