Last Thursday, December 11, was the first Maryland Board of Elections meeting since the 2014 Mid-Term Elections, and some important developments transpired. Among the most significant are positive changes coming from the MVA related to Voter Registration.

Per Philip Dacey, Esq., Director of External Affairs for the MVA, starting in January of 2015, people registering to vote will input their own selections rather than have a MVA clerk enter them, as they do now. Also, the first question to come up on that touchscreen will be “Are You a US Citizen?” with the response choices being ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’ reminding that person that only US Citizens are eligible to vote in Federal and State Elections. This is important because in the last election we had multiple reports of non-citizens voting or non-citizens receiving active registrations to vote. Of course, legislation that would require Proof of Citizenship would be preferable- but considering we haven’t even passed Voter ID in Maryland yet, this latest development is definitely a step in the right direction.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections (MC BOE) also testified about the Voter Registration Audit they are requesting from the State. Mary Ann Keeffe, President of the MC BOE, spoke and it is good to see MC taking these issues seriously, hopefully other Counties will follow suit. Not surprisingly, the MD Board members tried to shoot this effort down, saying MC BOE’s concerns could be addressed in the 3-Year Annual MVA Audit scheduled for August 2015. Since the request from MC went straight to the Legislative Committee we will have to keep an eye on this to see what happens next. The MD BOE really doesn’t have the power to stop the Audit if the Legislative branch approves it. Stay tuned on more updates on this subject.

There has also been some talk about Same Day Registration and Voting, which would not be provisional, and this seemed to surprise even the Chair of the MD BOE. We will have to keep an eye out for exactly what is approved. Online Voting also seems to be “coming soon” and of course all of these initiatives only make voter fraud easier…

The Maryland Voter Alliance is currently working on Bills for this Legislative Session including Voter ID, Better Voter Registration practices to keep ineligible people off the Active Voter Rolls, and receiving approval for Maryland to participate in the Interstate Crosscheck. Going forward we will let you know which of these Bills are approved on our end and which Delegates will be sponsoring the Bills.

Finally, a BIG Shout Out to Sandy Tuttle, Lynda Del Castillo, and Lewis Porter for giving great testimony about their experiences during the Mid-Term Elections. I really think that hearing first-hand accounts from concerned citizens has a huge impact on the MD, and it also allows us to get our concerns “on the record” to move the ball down the field for better voter integrity moving forward.