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Election Denial in Maryland

  • 0 Election Deniers currently hold statewide office with election oversight power.

  • 2 Election Deniers have held, or run for, statewide office since 2020.

The landscape in Maryland

Voters in Maryland stood up for democracy in 2022 and decisively rejected Election Deniers who sought control of the state’s election. 

In the Governor’s race, Wes Moore handily defeated Dan Cox, who called for President Trump to seize voting machines in 2020, chartered three buses to the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6, 2021, and called Vice President Mike Pence a traitor. Another Election Denier, Michael Peroutka, lost the race for Attorney General by 30 points. 

However, at the federal level, one Member of Congress from Maryland — Rep. Andy Harris — was among the 147 who voted to overturn 2020 election results on Jan. 6 and 7, 2021.

Maryland is part of a nationwide trend to scrutinize voter rolls, efforts that often go hand-in-hand with election conspiracies as vigilantes look for voter fraud. A nonprofit has threatened to sue the state on behalf of two Marylanders who want access to voter registration records. A state official reinforced to Fox45 News that the state follows all federal and state laws in maintaining its voter rolls.

0 Election Deniers hold statewide Office right now.

Elections are run by the states. In Maryland, the Governor, Attorney General, and administrator of elections are the state officials responsible for overseeing elections. In most states, the Secretary of State is the chief election official. Maryland is an exception: The administrator of elections is appointed by the State Board of Elections. It’s up to them to make sure the will of the people is always respected.

Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections

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How Maryland compares

Every state runs its own elections, with its own laws and processes. Check out how Maryland compares with other states in its region when it comes to Election Deniers holding state election administration jobs.

Election Denial in Mideast States

Sitting official is an Election Denier

  1. In Delaware, the Governor appoints the State Commissioner of Elections.
  2. In Washington, D.C., the Executive Director is appointed by the District of Columbia Board of Elections.
  3. In Maryland, the Administrator of Elections is appointed by the Maryland State Board of Elections.
  4. In New Jersey, the Governor appoints the Secretary of State.
  5. In New York, the Co-Executive Directors are appointed by the New York State Board of Elections.
  6. In Pennsylvania, the Governor appoints the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Voter turnout over time

Voters are always the backstop against election denial, whether Election Deniers are already in office or vying for power. It’s important to turn out for every election in your state—and to vote in every race on your ballot. Downballot races, like contests for Attorney General and Secretary of State, have historically drawn fewer voters, even though the positions are critical to keeping elections free, fair, and secure. Here’s a look at voter participation in Maryland elections over time. Notice that in years with several important positions up for election, some voters choose not to vote in every race.

Voter Participation in Maryland Since 2016

Attorney General
Secretary of State
  1. 2016 Presidential

    • President had a 66% voter turnout rate

    • Senator had a 65% voter turnout rate

  2. 2018 Midterm

    • Senator had a 54% voter turnout rate

    • Governor had a 54% voter turnout rate

    • Attorney General had a 53% voter turnout rate

  3. 2020 Presidential

    • President had a 70% voter turnout rate

Voter turnout

Data on the number of votes cast in each race are from state elections depositories, supplemented with data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), House Election Statistics, and The Book of States. Rates are calculated using the Census’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) estimates. Rates will be updated when the Census releases new CVAP data for 2022.

Beyond the ballot box

Each year, state legislators introduce thousands of bills related to elections. And in the past few years, we’ve identified a concerning trend. Across the country, state legislatures are considering bills that would make it easier for partisan actors to manipulate an election, and maybe even overturn the will of the people. We’re tracking these bills along with our partners in an ongoing series of reports called “A Democracy Crisis in the Making.” In 2023 alone, through early May, we tracked 185 bills introduced in 38 state legislatures that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections. 

The anti-democracy playbook is simple: change the rules and change the referees, in order to change the results. These bills go hand-in-hand with the Election Denier movement: They’re about taking power away from voters and making it harder for trusted election officials to do their jobs.

Read the full report

Legislative Interference in Maryland by Category

As of May 3, 2023, no bills had been introduced or were under consideration in Maryland. None have been enacted or adopted and none have been vetoed after passing.

  • Usurping control over election results.
    These bills would give legislators or other state officials direct control over election outcomes.
  • Requiring partisan or unprofessional election “audits” or reviews.
    These bills would establish vague post-election review schemes without the professional standards of traditional audits.
  • Seizing power over election responsibilities.
    These bills would shift election administration responsibilities away from professional, nonpartisan officials and toward partisan actors in the legislature.
  • Creating unworkable burdens in election administration.
    These bills would interfere with the basic procedures of election administration, increasing the risk of chaos and delay and enabling misleading claims of irregularity.
  • Imposing disproportionate criminal or other penalties.
    These bills would create or expand penalties for election officials in the ordinary execution of their jobs, including criminalizing inadvertent mistakes.