Friday Five | November 6, 2020

Each Friday, the Maryland Chamber will bring you the top five news stories from the intersection of business and government. Here are this week’s top five stories.

 1. ‘Great for politics’: Maryland voters, election officials, candidates kept up with changing election methods

The total number of mail-in votes for a general election was a record high for Maryland. (The most absentee ballots the state had sent out previously was 232,000 in 2008 when Democrat Barack Obama won the presidency over Republican John McCain.) Willis estimated the state could have seen another 300,000 to 400,000 mail-in votes this year had ballots — rather than just ballot applications — been directly mailed to each voter.

“I thought the voters reacted well to the changing circumstances,” Willis said. “The reduction of the number of judges helped immensely the local boards. The candidates, and even some of the officials who weren’t on the ballot, they got to a lot of people in a short amount of time. It was great for politics. I think it was a good experiment.”

More on the election here.

2. State’s Two Largest Counties Sounding New Warnings About Virus Spike

Montgomery County Executive Marc B. Elrich (D) on Wednesday sought County Council approval for a rollback in business activity and social gatherings due to a “sobering” increase in COVID-19 infections.

His actions follow by one day new warnings from Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D), who signaled that she will likely need to sound “alarm bells” about the spread of the virus there.

Find more on this story here.

3. Sagamore Farm Moving from Horse Racing to Rye Business

Sagamore Farm is moving from the horse business to the rye business.

The Kevin Plank-owned farm announced it will move away from thoroughbred breeding and racing to growing corn and rye for its Sagamore Spirit brand.

The farm will race 4-year-old Global Campaign in Saturday’s Breeder’s Cup Classic in Kentucky before it begins its transition at the end of the year.

More on this story here. 

4. Baltimore County Voters Move Toward Public Matching Fund for Candidates

Preliminary election results showed that more than 55% of voters signed off on creating an election fund that would match small donations for local candidates in Baltimore County, a measure advocates say would create fairer elections in the county.

The charter amendment would create a Citizens’ Election Fund system in the county, establishing a public trust that, starting in 2026, would match small donations for the county council and county executive candidates. It also would establish a commission within the county that would determine details and provide for funding of the program. Participation would be voluntary for candidates.

For the full story, click here.

5. What Went Right and What Went Wrong in Maryland on Election Day?

“Unprecedented” is a word that’s been used by election officials, advocates, and lawmakers alike to describe the 2020 presidential election ― and that phrase rang true on Tuesday.

More than 2 million Marylanders had cast their ballots before Election Day as the state emphasized early and mail-in voting. The coronavirus pandemic left election officials scrambling to come up with a workable in-person voting system earlier this year. Faced with election worker shortages and worries about the spread of COVID-19, the State Board of Elections eventually decided to open larger, fewer in-person voting centers for Election Day voting.

For the full report, click here.

Check out our Maryland Chamber Events Page for all of our Upcoming Webinars, Briefings, and Sponsored Events!

Upcoming calendar of legislative briefings and hearings

Thursday, November 12, 2020

  • 9:00 a.m. – Interagency Commission on School Construction
    • Public teleconference to discuss IAC business
    • See MGA Website for additional information

Wearing a mask in public lets us live life more safely. And it keeps you and everyone around you better protected from coronavirus. The more we mask together, the faster we get back to enjoying life…together. So, just carry on, masks on, Maryland.

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