Montgomery County Task Force to Consider “Opt-Out” Voter Registration

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A Montgomery County voting task force is considering a proposal that would automatically register voters when they apply for a driver’s license. As reported by

Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro, D, is spearheading the task force. A resolution calling for measures to expand voting participation in the county and the state was unanimously approved by Montgomery’s nine-member council in September.

Switching to “opt-out” voter registration was the only item the council’s resolution explicitly charged the task force with considering that would require action by the Maryland Board of Elections or the General Assembly, according to Ken Silverman, senior legislative aide to Navarro.

This approach is opposite to Maryland’s current voter registration policy.
If passed, Maryland’s voter registration policy would change from an “opt-in” system – where people are asked if they would like to register – to an “opt-out” system, where they would be registered to vote unless they asked not to be.
Such a change would require action by the Maryland General Assembly. It’s not clear whether the task force could develop recommendations for consideration during the upcoming session.
The council is set to vote on the 15-member task force group Tuesday (Nov. 26). An interim report with recommendations is due to the council by Feb. 28 and a final report by May 31.