TESTIMONY TO THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
HB 25 Local Government - Municipal Elections - No-Excuse Absentee Voting
BY: Susan Cochran, President
DATE: January 30, 2014
The League of Women Voters supports HB 25 which would provide no-excuse voting in municipal elections in Maryland.
Recognizing the need to make voting more accessible to individuals, the Maryland General Assembly has enacted various election reforms including early voting and same day registration during early voting. These reforms also included the enactment in 2006 of no-excuse absentee voting. HB 25 would extend this convenience to those who vote in municipal elections.
Because municipalities do not offer early voting for their elections, it is important that voters in these elections who have child care obligations, employment, school commitments or other reasons for not being available to attend a polling place on election day have the opportunity to fully participate in the election through absentee voting.
Additionally, the Maryland legislature and state and local election officials in Maryland have worked hard over the past decade to assure uniformity in election laws and procedures as they are instituted throughout the state. These have been positive actions for voters, many of whom move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The uniformity of voting equipment, early voting dates, election day identification requirements and the seamless voter registration transfer from county to county have greatly benefited Maryland voters. The League believes that including in this positive uniformity the ability of voters to apply for an absentee ballot without providing an excuse will benefit voters who take advantage of absentee voting by assuring that the absentee requirements do not vary from election to election.