Maryland has developed one of the strongest commitments to voting rights in the country. It has recently implemented a broad approach to automatic voter registration that makes it one of the strongest in the country.
Maryland’s 2019 legislative session has concluded. Stay tuned for how you can take action to expand voting rights in Maryland next session.
Automatic Voter Registration- Automatic voter registration was passed in April 2018 and will be implemented in 2019. In contrast to other states’ programs, multiple state agencies are to participate. These include the Motor Vehicle Administration, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, local social service agencies, and the Maryland Transit Administration.
Online Voter Registration- Maryland provides online voter registration up to 20 days before Election Day. Voters can pre-register at 16 years of age.
Same-Day Registration- Same-day registration has been provided during early voting in the past. As of a constitutional amendment passed by the voters in 2018, same-day registration will now be available on Election Day.
Voter ID Requirement- Maryland does not require Voter ID except for first time voters who registered by mail and did not provide a valid identification at that time.
Early Voting- Eight days of early voting, including one Saturday and one Sunday, are provided.
No Excuse Absentee- Maryland does offer no excuse absentee voting.
Mail-In Voting- Mail-in voting is only provided in the context of absentee voting.
RECOMMENDATION: SB 333 and HB 119, which would create a mail-in vote system in Maryland, did not pass during the 2019 legislative session.
Felon Re-Enfranchisement- Voting rights are generally restored upon the completion of the prison sentence.
Voter Bill of Rights- No voter bill of rights has been developed, but the Office of Attorney General has developed a detailed FAQ for voters.
RECOMMENDATION: Build on the FAQ with an implemented voter bill of rights that is made available to voters in the state directly and through appropriate websites.
Polling Hours- Polling places are open from 7 am – 8 pm on Election Day, for 13 hours of total voting time.
RECOMMENDATION: Expand voting hours to 14 hours consistent with leading states.
Wait Time Service Standard- Like other states, Maryland does not have a wait time service standard. While Maryland has substantial early voting, improving the Election Day experience is still vital.
RECOMMENDATION: Implement and monitor a wait time service standard for polling places in Maryland.
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