PRESS RELEASE: Enhancing Election Integrity

Senator Kagan Introduces Election Reform Package
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 17, 2021 
Senator Cheryl C. Kagan
District 17 (Rockville & Gaithersburg)
(ANNAPOLIS, MD) The strength of our election system was tested last year by both the Coronavirus pandemic and a U.S. President who sought to overturn the results of a free and fair election. Although the 2020 election was contentious and divisive, it caused more Americans than ever to focus on the details of voting.
Senator Cheryl C. Kagan, Vice Chair of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs (EHEA) Committee, is sponsoring three bills to update and strengthen our election laws. Though the pandemic did not create issues, it certainly highlighted areas that should be addressed.

SB632/HB761 will be heard in the Senate EHEA Committee tomorrow. This bill establishes parameters for recounts in close elections and sets fundraising limits.

The changes implemented last year, mostly through Executive Order, placed tremendous strain on our local Boards of Elections. In partnership with the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo), SB747/HB1038 would:
  • Divide specified costs between the State and the Local Boards;
  • Increase transparency and oversight by requiring the State Board of Elections to vote on contracts greater than $50,000; and
  • Establish a schedule of updates to voter registration databases.
Multiple curative items are included in the “Election Reform Act of 2021” (SB831).
Sen. Kagan has collaborated with MACo, the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, MD Public Interest Research Group, and many other advocates and experts to improve our voting policies and systems. Among the wide array of 15+ issues to support democracy in Maryland are:
  • Increasing the number of Early Voting days;
  • Expanding voting rights for unaffiliated voters;
  • Standardizing methods for voters to correct errors on their ballot envelopes; and
  • Allowing local boards to start processing ballots before Election Day.

“Campaigns may be divisive, but election administration should be nonpartisan. All Marylanders should be united in a commitment to fair, accurate, and inclusive elections,” said Sen. Kagan. “These bills would implement small but important changes that would result in the enhanced integrity of our elections.”

NOTE: While these bills are available online, there are significant amendments. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you want to learn more.

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Senator Kagan (D-District 17) is in her second term representing Gaithersburg and Rockville. She serves as the Vice Chair of the Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee. Kagan has earned a reputation as an independent-minded legislator with a strong voice for her constituents on election reform, public safety, consumer protection, and more. Kagan is active on social media and can be found on Facebook at Sen. Cheryl Kagan, on Twitter at @CherylKagan, on Instagram at @CherylCKagan, and YouTube at Sen. Cheryl Kagan.