Ballot Initiative Question 2

Posted 14 September 2018

Question 2: Election Day Voter Registration

Voting is a most fundamental right with which all citizens are endowed. Under current law, eligible voters may register to vote during the Early Voting period but may not register on Election Day, itself. There is no reason to make this distinction, and the Election Day Voter Registration Amendment would remove that prohibition.

 

Just before the primaries, the Maryland MVA announced that over 80,000 voter registrations were not properly updated. This announcement came after voter registration and Early Voting had closed, so many voters had no opportunity to correct the error before the polls opened. And, like many states, Maryland periodically purges voter rolls to combat potential voter fraud. A few simple missed form letters creates the possibility for voters to be removed from the rolls without their knowledge.

 

The amendment proposed does not enact a law to allow eligible voters to register on Election Day, but it removes the Constitutional prohibition. Currently, the Maryland Constitution does not allow the legislature to even consider a bill for same-day registration, much less debate its worth or implementation. Removing this restriction simply opens the door for a conversation about voter registration and election security. 

 

If Election Day voter registration is available, then any mistakes made either on the part of the voter or on the part of the Board of Elections can be corrected at the polls. With the passage of this initiative, Maryland would join 16 other states and the District in this bipartisan effort towards access to the polls. A yes vote on this ballot initiative is the first step in a path towards ensuring that any eligible voter who wishes to vote, can vote.