Maryland Early Voting, Question 1 (2008)

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Declaration of RightsIIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXI-AXI-BXI-CXI-DXI-EXI-FXI-GXI-HXI-IXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIIXIX

The Maryland Early Voting Amendment, also known as Question 1, was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Maryland as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure authorized the General Assemnly to enact legislation to allow qualified voters to vote at polling places inside or outside of their election districts or wards and to vote up to two weeks before an election.[1]

Election results

Maryland Question 1 (2008)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,755,844 72.36%
No670,75927.64%

Election Results via: Maryland State Board of Elections

Text of measure

The text of the measure can be read here.

Background

The Maryland General Assembly passed similar early voting legislation in 2005 and 2006. A circuit court judge in Anne Arundel County ruled that both of those those measures were unconstitutional. The legislature responded by putting this measure on the ballot.

Specific provisions

The measure enacted the following provisions:

  • Authorize the state legislature to enact a process whereby voters will be able to vote in person in the two weeks preceding an election.
  • Designate three polling places in each county to be opened for the 10 days before Election Day.

View the full text of the Legislative summary here: Maryland Question 1 (2008) Summary

Supporters

Supporters included:

  • Delegate Jon Cardin (D-11), chair of the Maryland House Election Law Subcommittee.
  • Delegate John P. Donoghue (D-2C)[2]
  • Dorothy Kaetzel, Washington County Election Director
  • Common Cause Maryland[2]

Arguments in favor

Notable arguments made in support included:

  • It will increase turnout and decrease long lines.
  • Early voting makes it more convenient to vote, and encourages voter participation by those that don't have time on election day.[2]
  • Absentee voting isn't sufficient in all cases, including unforeseen circumstances that may keep a voter from making it to the polls before they close[2]

Opposition

Opponents included:

Arguments against

Notable arguments made in opposition to the measure included:

  • It is politically motivated to get more Democrats to vote in a state where they have a 2-to-1 advantage in voter registration.
  • Because Maryland is a state that doesn't require voters to show photo ID, this measure increases the chances of vote fraud.
  • Those who cannot make it to the polls on time can already vote absentee.
  • Implementing the measure will be costly.

See also

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