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Today, the Maryland State Senate passed SB1048, the Secure and Accessible Registration Act, a form of Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) with a vote of 32-12. It now moves on to the House.
“In conjunction, these bills work to streamline our voter registration process so more Marylanders can exercise their right to vote,” explained Senator Will Smith, the lead sponsor of SB1048 and a cosponsor of Election Day Registration.
Last week the House passed HB532, Election Day Registration, with a vote of 91-47. In order to establish Election Day Registration, the General Assembly needs to amend the Maryland constitution. Once passed by the Senate, it will be up to voters to authorize the amendment at the ballot in November.
Passing Automatic Voter Registration and Election Day Registration are priorities of Everyone Votes Maryland, a coalition of good democracy, labor, grassroots, and civil rights groups including Common Cause Maryland, the Maryland NAACP, Indivisible Baltimore, Maryland Working Families, Maryland PIRG, Maryland ACLU, the Maryland State Education Association, and the Brennan Center for Justice.
Every Marylander - Democrat, Republican, Independent, or otherwise - has a fundamental right to vote and to have their vote counted. AVR is a simple shift to the voter registration process at some state agencies that makes voter registration opt-out instead of opt-in. States with AVR have found that more eligible voters are registered and voting because of the program.
Common Cause Director Damon Effingham explained, “AVR not only promises to add more eligible Maryland voters on the rolls, but will make our voter lists more accurate and secure- and save taxpayers money over time. Those are outcomes everyone can get behind.”
Election Day Registration (SB594/HB532) is being sponsored by Senator Paul Pinsky in the Senate and Delegate Kirill Reznik in the House. The Secure and Accessible Registration Act (SB1048/HB152) is sponsored by Senator Will Smith in the Senate and Delegate Eric Luedtke in the House.
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