House Hears Administration’s Voter Access Bill

Legislation introduced by the Administration to improve access to voting was heard on February 21 in the House Ways and Means Committee. SB 279/HB 224 would expand the number of early voting locations in some jurisdictions, provide for voter registration during early voting, and improve access to absentee ballots. A previous post on Conduit Street summarizes the legislation.

As reported by MarylandReporter.com, many at the hearing expressed security concerns and concerns with the use of motor vehicle registration information to verify same day voter registrations.

House Bill 224 – Improving Access to Voting – could make personal information input by the voter vulnerable to internet hacking without new security provisions in place, according to Rebecca Wilson of Save our Votes, a voter advocacy group.

Since last August, the State Board of Elections has known about a computer security concern,” Wilson said. “The system is still wide open and now we are looking to expand this to all voters in the state. A hacker could target 75% of voters who don’t vote in an election. There would be no way that the board of elections would be able to distinguish that from a legitimate vote.”

When asked about this issue, State Board of Elections Deputy Director Ross Goldstein responded that a plan is in place to address this.

Del. Don Dwyer, R-Anne Arundel County, questioned state elections officials about safety nets for same day voter registration, asking if there were any identifiers in the Motor Vehicle Association (MVA) database that would weed out ineligible voters.

Goldstein said there weren’t any, and like other registration systems currently used in the state, it was up to the individual to tell the truth about his or her eligibility by signing an oath that would result in perjury — a federal offense — if they lied.

Opponents were quick to point out that the state had little to history of prosecuting voting perjury cases, although election officials didn’t accept these assertions.

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