With today’s Census Bureau’s data release the League of Women Voters of Maryland (LWVMD) calls for a redistricting process that includes maximum opportunity for public scrutiny. We are calling upon the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission (LRAC) to:
(1) demonstrate transparency by adhering to the Maryland General Assembly’s own Open Meetings Act;
(2) release the preliminary maps in a format suitable for quantitative analysis (GeoJSon) as soon as they are completed;
(3) hold multiple hybrid hearings, starting 2 weeks after the Commission releases its preliminary maps; and
(4) allow sufficient time for comments received at those hearings to be considered by the Commission—well before the start of the General Assembly’s 90-day session.
The LWVMD further calls on the LRAC to demonstrate its commitment to fairness by adopting standards, before its process begins, that DO NOT:
- consider how individuals are registered to vote, how they have voted in the past, or the political parties to which they belong; and
- consider the domicile or residence of any incumbent officeholder or potential candidates.
“In a democracy, voters must have the opportunity to pick their own legislators, not the other way around.” said Deborah Mitchell, LWVMD co-president. “Trust between the voters and the people they elect must be nurtured.”
For the first time a new form of public input is available: maps created by communities of interest (COI). The LWVMD requests that the LRAC reach out and gather COI maps from underrepresented communities and consider them in their mapping deliberations. Splitting communities is a form of voter suppression.
The LWVMD challenges the LRAC to use a dedicated website that both gathers information the Commission has released and provides information the public wishes to offer, a standard communications tool and form of transparency. At this point, the public does not even have contact information for the chair of the LRAC.
Details of the LWVMD redistricting position, including background, is available on the LWVMD website.
The League of Women Voters of Maryland is springing into action, in response to the Governor’s July 8th order to the State Board of Elections to carry out a traditional election process this November, while also mailing every active registered voter an absentee ballot request form. This decision runs contrary to the advice of local election officials who reported that many election judges have already declined to serve due to concerns about COVID-19. Election officials also noted the additional administrative costs and potential delays caused by the processing of absentee ballot request forms, and recommended that ballots be mailed to voters to ensure a safer and more seamless process. This will unfortunately create challenges for voters and poll workers -- chief among them the risk of exposure to COVID-19 at in-person polling places.Read more
June 26th, Annapolis - LWVMD has once again called on the Governor to declare a primarily vote-by-mail election with adequate in-person voting locations for those who may need them - beyond what was available for the primary election earlier this month - in order to ensure the safety of Maryland voters as we continue to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. See our joint letter to the Governor below:
In the June 2nd primary Maryland took the bold step of enabling all registered voters to cast a ballot by mail. However, we saw many issues related to voter access and transparency in the election system that could undermine voters’ trust. LWVMD calls upon the Governor and our election administrators to take the necessary steps to prevent the same issues from recurring in November and maintain voters’ confidence in our democratic system.
Planning for the November general election needs to start immediately, and resources must be allocated to do it right. LWVMD is advocating for the following:Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The League of Women Voters of Maryland, Common Cause Maryland, and Maryland PIRG today urged the State Board of Elections to take steps to mitigate issues caused by a delay in ballots arriving to Baltimore City Voters. The Maryland State Board of Elections is holding an emergency meeting today at 4:30 pm to consider changes for the June 2, 2020 election. Because of a week-long delay in mailing ballots to Baltimore, some city voters may not receive them in time to vote by mail. Read our full letter below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Voting Rights Advocates Ask Governor for Increased Voter Education Efforts Ahead of June 2 Election
The League of Women Voters of Maryland, Common Cause Maryland, NALEO and other voting rights advocates today urged Governor Larry Hogan to increase voter education and outreach efforts ahead of the June 2, 2020 Primary Election amid changes to the process necessitated to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The groups' recommendations included funding and resource allocation for communications via a variety of media sources and in multiple languages. The full letter is below:
The Honorable Larry Hogan
Governor, State of Maryland
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Governor Hogan:
We thank you for your efforts to rapidly shift election procedures as we all work to adjust our lives and habits to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are grateful that plans have been set in motion to shift our June 2 Presidential Primary to a primarily vote by mail election and that limited in-person polling places will be available to those who need them. However, we have learned from the April 28, 2020 election that much more work is needed to educate the public about these changes.
In order to effectively reach every eligible voter with this information[i], a significant amount of funding and resources must be allocated for voter education efforts. We must produce communications in multiple languages and utilize a variety of communication methods including but not limited to: phone banking, robocalls, text messaging, email, social media messaging, television advertisements, radio advertisements, other online ad platforms such as YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, etc.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANNAPOLIS – Ahead of primaries and the special election in Congressional District 7, the League of Women Voters of Maryland (LWVMD) offers the nonpartisan online election resource VOTE411.org. This “one-stop shop” for election information provides simple, easy tools to help Maryland voters navigate the voting process. VOTE411 provides candidate information, a voter registration tool, polling place information, and other helpful election information which voters can access from home during this time of social distancing.Read more
"Concerned about the safety of poll workers, voters, and the public at large."
The League of Women Voters of Maryland, Common Cause Maryland, Maryland PIRG and ACLU of Maryland today urged Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Board of Elections to implement changes before the delayed 2020 Presidential Primary and the 7th Congressional District special election.
The groups' recommendations included establishment of a Voting Rights Task Force, automatic absentee voting, extension of deadlines, and expanded public outreach. The full letter is below:Read more
|Annapolis – In 2020 the League of Women Voters (LWV) celebrates its 100th anniversary and Maryland joins more than 700 other local and state chapters to celebrate this historic milestone. On March 4, 2020 the LWV of Maryland will be honored in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly with a proclamation celebrating the tireless advocacy of its members, and commitment to nonpartisan voter education.|
As we look to a vibrant future on the threshold of our next 100 years, the League is excited that dedicated members across Maryland continue to steadily attract significant numbers of activists who share the League’s commitment to Making Democracy Work.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 14, 2020
Contact: Ashley Oleson - 410-269-0232 - [email protected]
Annapolis – The League of Women Voters of Maryland (LWVMD) turns 100 years old on February 14, 2020, and to celebrate, LWVMD members launched a #FairMapsValentine Campaign online and by delivering a Fair Maps Valentine to every member of the Maryland General Assembly.