New York, NY – Today, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law landmark legislation that will allow voters to both register to vote and cast a ballot during the state’s early voting period. Twelve states and the District of Columbia now offer Same Day Registration. Senate Bill 279 also adds two additional days to the early voting period, increasing the number from six to eight days to vote prior to Election Day.
The bill, introduced by the governor, will also increase the number of polling stations, particularly in larger districts where crowds of voters waited in line for hours during the 2012 election. SB 279 extends voting hours too.
Same Day Registration in Maryland is a victory that Demos and over two-dozen voting rights organizations have supported. In response to Governor O’Malley’s successful initiative, Demos President Miles Rapoport issued the following statement:
“The freedom to vote is how Americans, regardless of privilege or economic status, maintain the power to hold their elected representatives accountable for the decisions that impact their lives.
This bill is a huge victory for the people of Maryland. It will encourage the vote of the 1.3 million eligible voters in the state who didn’t participate in the 2012 presidential election.
“This bill is a huge victory for the people of Maryland. It will encourage the vote of the 1.3 million eligible voters in the state who didn’t participate in the 2012 presidential election. We applaud Governor O’Malley, the driving force behind this bill, and the General Assembly, for expanding citizen’s political voice in the decisions that affect their communities.
“The record shows that voters clearly like Same Day Registration. 1.5 million Americans were able vote in the last presidential election with the reform—citizens who had missed unnecessarily early voter registration deadlines, or were left off the voter rolls by bureaucratic error. Maryland can expect to see a similar expansion of the freedom to vote.”
For ten years, Demos has championed solutions to a variety of critical voting rights issues, including Same Day Registration. SDR is a part of Demos’ ongoing work to ensure that all are afforded an equal say in our democracy.
Demos is a public policy organization working for an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy.
Read our Explainer: What Is Same Day Registration? Where Is It Available?