LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS®
RSC (2009-3) Election Process
SB 514 - Registration and Voting on Election Day is sponsored by Sen. Lennet and 15 other senators.? This bill calls for a constitutional amendment that would allow the General Assembly to enact laws to allow a qualified voter to register to vote and vote at the voter?s polling place on?Election Day.?Currently, voter registration closes on the 21st day preceding an election.? Nine other states have Election Day Registration, some sine the 1970's.? The fiscal note to this bill, which is notcross filed with but is identical to HB476, says this bill ?should no result in additional costs for the local boards of elections.?? These bills only relate to the constitutional amendment and are not to the enabling legislation which will undoubtedly have financial consequences for local election boards.? The League will provide testimony in support of this legislation at a hearing scheduled for February 26 in the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. A number of bills have been filed relating to switch to an optical scan voting system.? Two bills (HB 1211/SB 970) have been filed which would delay the replacement of Maryland?s DRE voting system until 2016.? A hearing on the House bill is scheduled for March 3rd.
Three bills deal with revising language of the optical scan voting system legislation adopted in 2007.?? The 2007 bill stated that any voting system certified by the State Election Board must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Help America Vote Act, and must be shown by an independent testing laboratory to meet the accessibility standards adopted aspart of the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) pursuant to HAVA.? At this point, no optical scan voting system has met these Guidelines. ?Amendments need to be made to the currentlaw to allow the state to pursue the purchase of optical scan voting equipment by 2010.? Delegate Cardin hassponsored HB 738 - Voting System Requirements and Accommodations for Voters with Disabilities, which would allow the continued use of our current DRE machines for voters with disabilities, and delete the reference to the VVSG, substituting meeting the accessibility guidelines established by the FEC or the EAC.? Delegates Hixson, Cardin and three others have introduced HB 893 ? Voting System ?Requirements which would not amend the current law, but adds a provision that if no voting system is commercially available at the time of procurement, SBE shall select the system that best satisfies the VVSG requirements. Senators Dyson and Conway have introduced SB 415? Voting Systems ? Requirements which deletes the reference to the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, but does not allow for the continued use of DRE machines for disabled voters.?Hearings are scheduled on all three of these bills within the next week.