Maryland Considers Voting Bill That Can Improve Voter Turnout

By Project Vote February 16, 2017
(By Ben Schumin/Creative Commons)

Project Vote submitted testimony on HB 345, which would provide Election Day registration. Election Day registration (EDR) would give Marylanders the chance to register or update their voter registration and cast a ballot on Election Day. The Maryland House Ways and Means Committee is hearing the bill today.

Maryland has already been a leader in voting modernization and reform. Importantly, the state already offers same-day registration during the early voting period. Now, Maryland may adopt Election Day registration, which is proven to be one of the most impactful reforms a state can adopt.

Election Day registration matters. It is consistently associated with higher voter turnout. In fact, turnout is higher when EDR is adopted compared to states with even short registration deadlines before the election. It helps voters who go to the polling place only to discover registration-related problems once there. Election Day registration also provides an easy way to update registration addresses, both increasing the accuracy of the voter rolls and reducing provisional ballots, which require more time to process.

Election Day registration is simply a vital safety net. It’s been offered in 13 other states, plus D.C. Some states have offered EDR since the 1970s and now modern technology makes it easier than ever to administer.

“Maryland has shown a strong commitment to democratic participation. This bill will help ensure that all eligible Marylanders can make their voices heard in the political process,” said Project Vote legislative director, Marissa Liebling.

Project Vote urges the swift passage of this bill.