Election Day Voter Registration Goes Into Effect In Maryland

January 4, 2019

Election Day Voter Registration Goes Into Effect In Maryland

Dominique Maria Bonessi / WAMU

Maryland joins 14 other states and the District that allow Election Day registration, but election officials still need instructions from state legislators on how to implement the new law.

Same-day early voter registration is already law in Maryland. A new constitutional amendment now allows same-day registration on Election Day effective January 1.

Currently, the State Board of Elections uses provisional ballots in early voting. Provisional ballots are also used on Election Day if there is a problem with voter information at the polls.

In the 2018 primary, as many as 80,000 provisional ballots went uncounted due to a computer glitch at the Motor Vehicle Administration.

Democratic Delegate Kirill Reznik sponsored the ballot measure. His proposed legislation would almost eliminate the use of provisional ballots for Election Day registration. He says the bill would allow voters who do not appear in the MVA voter database to register at the polls.

“We hope this brings more people out to vote,” says Reznik. “We’ve already seen how successful [same day registration] has been for early voter turnout.”

During 2018 early voting, 370,000 Marylanders showed up to the polls. That’s a 135 percent increase from early voting in 2014 midterm elections, according to the State Board of Elections.

But Republican Delegate Nic Kipke, who opposed the ballot measures, has previously said he’s concerned about voter fraud.

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