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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Time for Maryland to move to vote by mail?

   While standing in line to vote this week I thought that maybe it was time to have our State to move to voting by mail.  We hear often about states trying to make voting more difficult.  Maybe it is time for progressive Maryland to move in the direction of making it easier to vote. Maryland already sends out sample ballots so why not make them real ballots?  Here are the advantages and disadvantages and a state by state list of mail voting:

Possible Advantages

  • Voter convenience and satisfaction—Citizens can vote at home and take all the time they need to study the issues. Voters often express enthusiasm for all-mail elections.
  • Financial savings—Jurisdictions may save money because they no longer need to staff traditional polling places with poll workers and equip each polling place with voting machines. A 2016 study of Colorado from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that costs decreased an average of 40 percent in five election administration categories across 46 of Colorado’s 64 counties (those with available cost data). However, the study examines a number of reforms that Colorado enacted in 2013, with all-mail elections being the most significant. Others included instituting same day registration and shortening the time length for residency in the state for voting purposes.
  • Turnout—Some reports indicate that because of convenience, voter turnout increases. These reports assert that turnout increases by single digits for presidential elections and more in smaller elections. See this 2013 report on all-mail ballot elections in Washington and this 2018 report on all-mail ballot elections in Utah. Effects on turnout can be more pronounced for low propensity voters, those that are registered but do not vote as frequently.

Possible Disadvantages

  • Tradition—The civic experience of voting with neighbors at a local school, church, or other polling place no longer exists. 
  • Disparate effect on some populations—Mail delivery is not uniform across the nation. Native Americans on reservations may in particular have difficulty with all-mail elections. Many do not have street addresses, and their P.O. boxes may be shared. Literacy can be an issue for some voters, as well. Election materials are often written at a college level. (Literacy can be a problem for voters at traditional polling place locations too.) One way to mitigate this is to examine how voter centers are distributed throughout counties to best serve the population.  
  • Security—During all-mail elections (and absentee voting), coercion by family members or others might occur.
  • Financial considerations—All-mail elections greatly increase printing costs for an election. Additionally, jurisdictions must have appropriate equipment to read paper ballots at a central location, and changing from electronic equipment to equipment that can scan paper ballots can be expensive. 
  • Slow vote counting—All-mail elections may slow down the vote counting process, especially if a state's policy is to allow ballots postmarked by Election Day to be received and counted in the days and weeks after the election.

State-by-State Statutes on All-Mail Elections

Alaska: Elections other than general, party primary or municipal (Alaska Stat.§15.20.800)
Arizona: Special districts may conduct elections by mail (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §16-558)
Arkansas: Primary elections in which only one candidate has filed for the position by a filing deadline and there are no other ballot issues to be submitted for consideration (Ark. Stat. Ann. §7-7-313)
California: After/on January 1, 2018, fourteen counties may conduct all-mail elections. After January 1, 2020, any county may conduct any election as an all-mail election following statutory guidelines.  (Cal. Elec. Code §3017, 4005-4008). When there are 250 or fewer voters registered to vote in a precinct (Cal. Elec. Code §3005); local, special or consolidated elections that meet certain criteria (Cal. Elec. Code §4000).
Colorado: All elections (CRS §1-5-401)
Florida: Referendum elections at the county, city, school district or special district level (Fla. Stat. §101.6102) Also, governor may call for a mail ballot election after issuing an executive order declaring a state of emergency or impending emergency (see S 866, 2008)
Hawaii: Any federal, state, or county election held other than on the date of a regularly scheduled primary or general election (HRS §11-91.5). In 2018, Hawaii passed house bill 1401, which authorizes a county with a population less than 100,000 to conduct a pilot program for the 2020 primary and general elections.
Idaho:  A precinct which contains no more than 125 registered electors at the last general election may be designated by the board of county commissioners a mail ballot precinct no later than April 1 in an even-numbered year (Idaho Code §34-308)
Kansas: Nonpartisan elections at which no candidate is elected, retained or recalled and which is not held on the same date as another election (KSA Stat. §25-431 et seq.)
Maryland:  Special elections (Md. Election Code §9-501 et seq.)
Minnesota: Elections conducted by a municipality having fewer than 400 registered voters on June 1 of an election year and not located in a metropolitan county (Minn. Stat. §204B)
Missouri: Nonpartisan issue elections at which no candidate is elected, retained or recalled and in which all qualified voters of one political subdivision are the only voters eligible to vote (Mo. Rev. Stat. §115.652 et seq.)
Montana: Any election other than a regularly scheduled federal, state, or county election; a special federal or state election, unless authorized by the legislature; or a regularly scheduled or special election when another election in the political subdivision is taking place at the polls on the same day (MCA 13-19-101 et seq.)
Nebraska: Special ballot measure elections that meet certain criteria, held by a political subdivision (NRS §32-952)
Nevada: Whenever there were not more than 20 voters registered in a precinct for the last preceding general election (NRS §293.213)
New Jersey: A municipality with a population of 500 or fewer persons, according to the latest federal decennial census, may conduct all elections by mail (NJRS §19.62-1)
New Mexico: Any bond election, any election on the imposition of a mill levy or a property tax rate for a specified purpose or any special election at which no candidates are to be nominated for or elected to office (NMSA §1-23-1 et seq.)
North Dakota: Counties may conduct any election by mail (ND Cent. Code §16.1-11.1-01 et seq.)
Oregon: All elections (ORS §254.465)
Utah: Jurisdictions may decide to conduct elections entirely by mail (Utah Code Ann. §20A-3-302)
Washington: All elections (WRC §29A.40)
Wyoming: Counties may decide to conduct special elections entirely by mail (Wyo. Stat. 22-29-115)

Friday, October 26, 2018

LGBT Older Adults Task Force of Howard County and the 50+ LGBT Group hosts a holiday meet and greet

Gina DeSimone and the Moaners Dance Band Thursday December 6th , 6 pm to 8:30 pm 
Bain Center
5470 Ruth Keeton Way Columbia, MD 21044

For LGBT 18+, Family, Friends and Allies

Refreshments and great danceable, upbeat blues & swing music!

RSVP by Monday, November 27th to 410-313-7213
Suggested donation of $5 to LGBT Task Force and a non perishable item for the Howard County Food Bank 

Suggested Donation: $5 to support the LGBT Task Force and a non‐perishable item for the Howard County Food 
Suggested Donation: $5 to support the LGBT Task Force and a non‐perishable item for the Howard County Food Bank

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

I support Trump, I support him not

Image result for daisy he loves me he loves me not

  Remember as a child using a daisy to determine how you felt about something?  I was reminded of this when I read that Trump's approval was now at 47% from his low of 36%.  Who are these 11% of people who can't make up their minds about Trump?  He isn't that hard to figure out.  What is happening in your mind that changes how you feel about him?  Come on folks it isn't that hard.  He can't be a jerk one day and OK a couple of weeks later.  Once a jerk, always a jerk.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The unexplainable explained

MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report)—Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.  The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.” More worryingly, Logsdon said, “As facts have multiplied, their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.”

While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard information en route from the auditory nerve to the brain. “The normal functions of human consciousness have been completely nullified,” Logsdon said. While reaffirming the gloomy assessments of the study, Logsdon held out hope that the threat of fact-resistant humans could be mitigated in the future. “Our research is very preliminary, but it’s possible that they will become more receptive to facts once they are in an environment without food, water, or oxygen,” he said

Friday, October 19, 2018

Downtown Columbia Plan


    Howard County Planning and Zoning has just released the zoning plan for Town Center.  Check it out


Adopt a Howard County family for the Holidays

 As the Holiday Season once again approached many of us think about how we can
give back to our community. I have one way for you to consider.
(Foreign Information and Referral Network) will match you with a family
and they will send you the donor the information on
the family (names, ages, and genders of the children). Decide whether you want to
adopt the family for Thanksgiving, the Holidays, or both. There is no minimum or
maximum you donate what you feel comfortable doing. Donations can be delivered
to FIRN (5999 Harpers Farm Road, Suite E-200, Columbia, Maryland 21044) by
November 16 for Thanskgiving and December 11 for the Holidays. Interested?
Have Questions? Contact Meredith Hochman at
Thanks for your support!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Saturday truism

      Poverty exists not because we can't feed the poor but because we can't satisfy the rich

Friday, October 12, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Opus comes to Merriweather this Saturday

Image result for opus merriweather

OPUS MERRIWEATHER is a pioneering art and music festival that transforms the legendary Merriweather Post Pavilion and surrounding Symphony Woods into a surreal theater of discovery, imagination and wonder.
OPUS brings together 25 groundbreaking artists + musicians from over a dozen countries who have exhibited at the world’s leading cultural institutions, such as the Guggenheim, MoMA, Venice Biennale, Barbican Centre, and Park Avenue Armory. For one night only, you can experience their work in a mesmerizing theater of the forest.
OPUS is open to all ages, one night only . Enjoy the immersive art and music festival and feast at our new and improved Culinary Village.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Pyrrhic victories

Image result for Pyrrhic victory

     This weekend many liberals like myself will feel like we did the morning after Trump's election.  We lost the presidency and now we feel like we have lost the Supreme Court the second branch of government.  My reaction was comforted when I remembered the impact of Pyrrhic victories.
      So as most conservative Republicans now feel they can undo many progressive measures they maybe celebrating prematurely.  Future elections may move the needle in the other direction.  For every action there is an equal opposite reaction.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Everything you didn't know about private school parties

   Since Trump has come on the political scene we have had to learn more about sexual behaviors than most of us cared to know.  So it might not be surprising that his appointee to the Supreme Court has introduced us to some fairly extreme juvenile behaviors practiced by students at private schools.  Boofing and the Devil's Triangle are now terms that has many of searching the Urban Dictionary for an explanation.  Kavanaugh's efforts to clean up the meanings certainly leads one to question his honesty.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Columbia Association cutting down local Ash trees

      Disease has taken a toll on our ash trees locally.  The Columbia Association has started to cut ash trees down.  The Emerald Ash Borer is the cause of the problem.

The areas impacted by this problem are many in Columbia.  These pictures were taken along the path that parallels Dobbin Rd.  

Trees around Lake Elkhorn are also affected.


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Got my Presidential alert--Oh nuts!!

Image result for trump resigns headline

Silly me I thought maybe he was calling it quits.  Now that should be what was announced.

LA Mart to move into Weis old location in Oakland Mills Village Center

Image may contain: food

LA Mart announced its 4th location in the space in Oakland Mills Village Center where the Weis store was.  LA Mart is an international grocer with foods from around the World.  Hope it lasts longer than the one that was in the Long Reach Village Center.  Plan to open is Spring of 2019. Dunkin Donuts is also mentioned as taking the space next to the Mart.