End of Session Wrap Up: Elections

Now that the dust has settled, this post provides the final status of many election related bills of interest.

Voter Registration Data Exchange: HB 561/SB 765 authorizes the State Board of Elections (SBE) to enter into agreements with other states to exchange any data that the State Administrator of Elections determines is relevant to maintaining accurate voter registration lists.  Status:  Both bills have passed the General Assembly and are awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Online Voter Registration: HB 740/SB 806 authorizes the State Board of Elections (SBE) to operate an online voter registration system that allows an individual to electronically apply to become a registered voter or change the individual’s name, address, or party affiliation in the individual’s existing voter registration record.  Concerns were expressed regarding the fiscal effect on local governments since the local boards of elections were to be responsible for covering the cost of development and implementation.  Understanding these concerns, the bill was amended to use funds from the Fair Campaign Financing Fund for the implementation of the system.  Status:  Both bills have passed the General Assembly and are awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) ActHB 671/SB 820 changes the dates of the gubernatorial and presidential primaries to allow Maryland to be in compliance with the MOVE Act which requires states to, among other things, send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters no later than 45 days before an election for federal office if a request is received prior to that time.  The gubernatorial primary election will now be the last Tuesday in June and the presidential primary election will be the first Tuesday in April.  Status:  HB 671 passed the General Assembly and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.  SB 820 was not acted on by the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.

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