FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2013
Rockville, MD. Election Integrity Maryland (EIM) President Cathy Kelleher today criticized the proposal to open same-day registration for early voting in Maryland.
“The Maryland legislature undoubtedly approved this bill with only the best intentions – unfortunately there are substantial unintended consequences that all voters could suffer in future elections. We could easily witness drops in participation and confidence in our election system – the same issues this legislation is supposed to address.”
Election Integrity Maryland questioned the claim that enactment of the bill can easily boost voter participation.
“Proponents of the legislation argue that this law will boost voter turnout – an argument hardly based in any statistical fact or probability. Maryland consistently out-performed the national average on voter turnout in the past three presidential election cycles, often by wide margins. We’ve consistently turned out the vote better than states like Florida, Virginia and New York. Introducing such a radical change in our administrative processes can jeopardize that trend.”
Kelleher further argued: “If the bill should be enacted over increasing concerns of voter suppression, we need to listen to what our local election administrators are actually saying on the matter. In the past month, True the Vote released a study regarding suppression complaints in Maryland. They found only one complaint – an instance that Prince George’s County formally contested.”
EIM also raised concern over the unfunded mandate and added manpower burden the bill would create locally.
“Our state is growing – budgeting $125,000 per year is a joke. How can we expect our polling sites to become one-stop shops with no financial or logistical support from Annapolis? The policy proposal is precarious enough on its face. Half measures can be catastrophic for all involved. With enactment of this bill, Maryland can set national records for long lines at the polls.”
Kelleher finally acknowledged the issue of voter fraud with the same-day registration proposal.
“Proponents of this legislation may scoff at the issue of voter fraud, but they’re taking a dangerously narrow view of the problem. Roughly 75 percent of Americans register great concern for election integrity in their support for voter ID, according to The Washington Post. How can Marylanders have confidence in a new election process that is comically under-funded in a growing state? Minnesota, a same-day registration state, leads the country in cases of voter fraud. Maryland voters should not be forced to assume the same risk of fraudulent behavior occurring as seen elsewhere.”
True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht echoed EIM’s concerns over the same-day registration bill.
“We’re seeing a national trend of state lawmakers pushing through election legislation with lofty titles and intentions, leaving local voters and election administrators to deal with the reality of long lines and limited resources. Voters’ rights are compromised when political interests take precedence over those of the county election boards and the citizens they serve – and that is exactly what appears to be happening in Maryland.”
Click here to read True the Vote’s recent study on voter suppression in the 2012 swing states.
EIM seeks to support the efforts of Maryland’s various Boards of Elections in their effort to maintain voter integrity, as well as the interests of Maryland voters. For more information about Election Integrity Maryland, please visit: www.ElectionIntegrityMaryland.
Contact: Doug Mainwaring