Maryland Voter Alliance Condemns Automatic Voter Registration Bills


Sandra Schwartzman

(301) 230-0045 x100

 Maryland Voter Alliance Condemns Automatic Voter Registration Bills

SB0019 and SB0011 could invite fraud into the state voting system by registering ineligible voters through the MVA

ROCKVILLE, MD – February 10, 2016 – The Maryland Voter Alliance, a voter integrity organization dedicated to ensuring fraud-free elections for all Americans, announces today that it continues its commitment to the fight for free and fair elections and stands strong against current efforts in the General Assembly  of Maryland to permit additional paths to voter registration.

These Bills, if passed, would create significant, additional opportunities for fraud throughout the Maryland state voting system, particularly as the current challenges with keeping the rolls clean continue. The Hearing to review each of these Bills and their provisions by the House Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs is scheduled to take place Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 1pm in the Miller Senate Office Building at 2 West, Annapolis, MD, 21401.

The first Bill, SB0019, refers to the issue of Automatic Voter Registration. Sponsored by Senator Victor Ramirez (D-MD), this legislation would require the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and certain social service agencies to provide electronic records of specified individuals to the State Board of Elections, who then would determine that individual’s eligibility to vote. Additionally, the Bill would allow public institutions of higher education to allow each student to register to vote through an online portal such as those currently used by schools to register for courses.

An additional Bill, SB0011, sponsored by Senator Roger Manno (D-MD), known as the “Universal Voter Act,” would require the MVA and certain social service agencies to provide the electronic records of individuals who hold a driver’s license or state identification card, to the State Board of Elections. Individuals would be required to be at least 16 years old and U.S. citizens. The State Board of Elections would then be tasked with determining the eligibility of that individual and completing their registration to vote.

Both Bills present numerous opportunities for inaccuracy, voter fraud, and acceleration in the issue of allowing additional ineligible voters onto the rolls, presenting widespread threat to voter and election integrity state-wide. These follow similar legislation recently signed into law in California, known as the “New Motor Voter Act,” making it the second U.S. state to automatically register individuals to vote when they obtain or renew driver’s licenses or state identification cards. The overall rationale behind the passage of this Bill, according to California Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA), was to increase voter turnout, however it holds clear paths to increased fraud and decreased accuracy in state elections due to the rampant inaccuracy it will engender caused by an influx of ineligible voters being added to the rolls.

The Maryland Voter Alliance continues to oppose the passage of current, related legislation in that state for these reasons.

“These most recent Bills hold the potential to wreak further havoc on a voting process and electoral structure that already has clear, glaring issues,” President of the Maryland Voter Alliance, Robyn Sachs stated. “If passed, these Bills would only allow more ways for individuals to register to vote in Maryland, with greater potential for fraud, inaccuracy, and even more ineligible voters added to the rolls. If we can’t keep the rolls clean now, we have no businesses adding new registration methods! We must stop these Bills in their tracks to uphold integrity in our electoral process as a whole.”