'Cutting Edge' Online Voter Registration Launches in Maryland
Maryland is one of a handful of states nationwide offering the service.
Residents in Maryland with a valid drivers’ license or identification card can now register to vote online for the first time, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced.
Mary Wagner, Maryland’s director of voter registration at the State Board of Elections, called the move, which was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2011, “fairly cutting edge.”
Will you register to vote online? Or do you prefer the paper method? Tell us in comments.
State officials did a soft launch of the online voter registration tool July 9 and moved it to the main state elections home page on Tuesday, Wagner said.
Since the soft launch, Montgomery County voters have registered 37 new registrations and six changes of address, as of Thursday afternoon, Wagner said.
Five county voters and one address change had been registered using the tool since Tuesday, she said.
“It’s convenient for the voters,” Wagner said. “If you’re moving, the last thing you’re thinking about is moving your voter registration records.”
Maryland is one of 13 states with online voter registration either implemented or approved by state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The online voter registration system is expected to increase the number of registrants and "go a long way in cleaning the voter rolls," Wagner said.
"Election officials will not be having to read handwriting, interpret handwriting," she said. "You can’t put in a bad address."
The address that potential voters input must match a state database, which means "you can't misspell an address," she said.
The new tool also should help ensure voters are voting the correct ballot and should help local elections boards by cutting down on the number of people voting provisional ballots, Wagner said.
The deadline in Maryland to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election is Oct. 16. Paper registrations must be post-marked by that date. Voters can register online or by walk-in at their local elections board up until 9 p.m. Oct. 16, Wagner said.
To participate in online voting in Maryland, you must have a state drivers’ license or identification card issued by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, Wagner said. Otherwise, you can pre-populate the online form and mail it in, she said.
The state elections board includes a “Frequently Asked Questions” page that includes a way to email the state board specific questions and a “Rumor Control” page that dispels several misconceptions about voting in Maryland.