Maryland bills aim to make it easier to vote
April 8, 2021
By: Audrey Decker
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After a polarizing 2020 presidential election and a worldwide pandemic, Maryland lawmakers are rethinking how to conduct voting.
The General Assembly is considering multiple pieces of legislation that would ensure Marylanders can vote by mail and vote early.
In states across the country, there have been efforts made by Republican lawmakers to limit access to voting.
Georgia’s new voting law imposes multiple restrictions for voters, such as shrinking the amount of time voters have to request absentee ballots, creating stricter ID requirements for absentee ballots and limiting drop boxes.
Maryland, however, is going the opposite direction.
House bill 745 would increase the number of early voting sites statewide, and has passed in both chambers.
Delegate Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, sponsor of the bill, said that because of the pandemic, there has been a lot of innovation in how voting takes place in different states, and Maryland is learning from that.
Another one of his bills, HB156, aims to secure accessible voting to several groups who have historically faced issues, including students, overseas military personnel and senior communities. The bill passed in the House and is awaiting action in a Senate committee. Sen. Sarah Elfreth, D-Anne Arundel, sponsored the Senate version of the bill, SB283.
Additional voting legislation has been introduced by Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins, D-Montgomery. HB1047 would ensure that Maryland keeps its ballot drop boxes and gives people who use mail-in voting the ability to correct any errors before their ballot is rejected.
Many of these ideas were successful practices from 2020 that lawmakers are trying to codify into law, Wilkins said.