Maryland voters will be asked whether to approve a state constitutional amendment to enable same-day voter registration. Several other states have election reforms up for voter approval this November as well.
In Maryland this year, the last date to register to vote for the November 2018 general election is Tuesday, October 16th – 21 days before election day. If a proposed constitutional change is approved by voters in November, that timetable may be changed by subsequent legislation – and Maryland could join numerous other states in allowing voter registration at any time, including on election day itself.
An article in Governing magazine notes that election reforms – frequently requiring voter approval as many states embed their voting process in the states’ constitutions – are up for voter approval this fall. From their summary:
States have spent much of the past decade enacting restrictive voting and voter registration laws, such as voter identification requirements. Voters in several states will decide whether to approve such measures, but the closest-watched voting initiatives this fall would expand voting rights.
In Arkansas and North Carolina, voter ID laws have been struck down by courts. But if both states pass a voter ID ballot amendment, voter ID requirements would become kosher because they would be enshrined in the state constitutions. Meanwhile, Montana voters could make it a crime — with exceptions for people like mail carriers — to collect and turn in ballots cast by others.
The rest of the voting-related measures on state ballots this year are designed to make registration easier or restore voting rights to felons.