HB 1008, a bill passed by the House to expand the number of early voting sites in the more populous counties, has been amended in the Senate with further debate pending.
MACo had raised cost concerns with the bill, requesting that the bill’s provisions be made a local option. Neither the House nor the Senate have created a full local option, leaving the bill as an unfunded mandate on the affected counties.
The differing versions of the bill create different tiers of counties, by number of registered voters, as follows:
The band of Senate/House difference – between 125,000 and 200,000 registered voters – appears to include Harford and Frederick Counties (according to bill discussion on the Senate floor). Under the Senate amendments, those counties would be unaffected by the bill’s mandate (along with any counties with even lower populations).
The bill will be debated on the Senate floor, likely Thursday, for a final Senate vote (and potentially further amendments, which were hinted during Wednesday’s floor discussion). With the amendments, the House would need to agree with the Senate amendments, or the two chambers would need to resolve their differences to pass identical bills.
Read the MACo testimony online.