TESTIMONY TO THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
HB 224 Voters’ Rights Protection Act of 2014
BY: Susan Cochran, President
DATE: February 6, 2014
The League of Women Voters believes that voting is a fundamental citizen right that must be guaranteed. In recent Maryland elections, we have witnessed several instances of actions by candidates or political parties that have raised questions about the rights of voters to be free from intimidation or persuasion. Fortunately, the Maryland General Assembly has taken action through legislation to prohibit such actions.
HB 224 addresses the need for speedy action by a court to prevent potentially irreparable harm or injustice to voters created by specified prohibited actions that violate election law. Examples of such harm could result from fliers distributed to voters containing inaccurate information relating to the date or time of an election or the location of polling places, or an organized effort to fraudulently obtain or vote absentee ballots. Authorizing the Attorney General to bring the full force of his office to immediately address voter fraud or intimidation is a sensible addition to our laws.
The League supports HB 224, and we believe it is a useful tool in the ongoing struggle to curb efforts to adversely affect the voting rights of Maryland citizens. We acknowledge this Committee’s efforts to pass this legislation in previous years, and will support its passage out of committee in the Senate.