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“A Huge Step Forward for Voter Participation”
(Annapolis, MD) – The House of Delegates today gave final approval to SB 279, which would expand early voting and allow same day voter registration at early voting centers. If the Senate concurs with the House amendments the bill will move to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Advocates praised the bill, noting that democracy is strengthened when the greatest number of people can participate. Same day registration and early voting are essential to expanding the right to vote so that all citizens, regardless of race or privilege, can exert real influence on the decisions that affect their lives.
Maryland joins eleven other states and the District of Columbia in allowing same day voter registration. The bill also increases the number of sites for early voting, with the largest jurisdictions offering eight locations, and allows counties to offer one additional site if needed. Early voting will run an entire week, including a weekend, with generous hours to provide flexibility for voters.
The House Ways and Means Committee included several amendments to increase security around provisions that allow absentee voters to register and mark their ballot online. The bill also requires the State Board of Elections to study why the lines for early voting were so long for the 2012 elections.
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ACLU of Maryland, Common Cause Maryland, Communities United, Communications Workers of America, Demos, FairVote, the League of Women Voters of Maryland, Maryland PIRG, Progressive Maryland, and the Progressive States Network are non-profit organizations committed to increasing voter participation in elections and creating a fair and open political process in Maryland.
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