MFRW LEGISLATIVE ALERT – JANUARY 22, 2021
HEARINGS ON ELECTION RELATED BILLS IN THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES – JANUARY 26 AT 1:30 P.M. IN HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
REMINDER: To give written or oral testimony you must sign up on Friday, January 23 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the website: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov. Click on the “MyMGA” icon in upper right corner of the homepage. You must establish an “MyMGA” account to be able to sign up.
– ELECTIONS BY MAIL – STRONGLY OPPOSE-
HB- 153 by Del. Ivey and HB 274 – by Del. Cardin. Bills require that in all elections, every registered voter will automatically receive a ballot by mail. Replacement ballots will be provided if lost or damaged. When a replacement ballot is sent to a voter it will be noted in the voter registry.
The only difference in the bills is HB 274 states voter can discard the mail ballot and vote by any other method allowed.
Reasons to Oppose HB 153 and HB 274 include:
Voters’ Lists in all jurisdictions are not updated regularly. There are many names on the voters’ lists that are no longer eligible including those who have moved out of the district or put of state; those who have died or become ineligible for other reasons. Mass-mailed Ballots are subject to being “harvested” by removing them from mail boxes or from trash cans. Harvesting groups can unfairly pressure voters, particularly elderly or young voters to vote for a specific candidate or slate of candidates or to allow them to return the ballots.
When a voter votes at their Precinct Polling Place on Election Day or during Early Voting their ballot is completely secret and their ability to vote for the candidates of their choice is protected. They know their ballot is counted because they place the ballot in the collator. They have no such assurance with an election by mail. U.S. Mail delivery has become less reliable and millions of “mail-in” ballots will flood the system and put delivery of ballots at risk.
Marylanders expect to know election results on election night or at least by the next day. Delays in vote tabulations for weeks reduces confidence in the election results. The canvassing of ballots in elections-by-mail is prolonged over weeks. It is much less secure and more susceptible to manipulation or leakage of the total votes a candidate may have received while ballots are still being mailed.
Maryland has long had poll-watchers observe the vote counting for absentee ballots. It is very difficult to have volunteer poll-watchers observe vote counting over several weeks.
In-person elections at polling places on one Election Day have worked for hundreds of years. The system isn’t broken and doesn’t need to be “fixed”.
OTHER PROBLEM ELECTION BILLS:
HB 57 – Voters Rights Protection Act of 2021 – Del. Rosenberg. STRONGLY OPPOSE.
HB 57 – ALLOWS MAIL-IN BALLOTS TO BE POST-MARKED THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION.
HB 57 Requires public hearings, a county government resolution and Circuit Court declaratory judgement for reducing or moving election precincts in census tracts with minority or language minority voting age populations of 20% or more. HB 57 would not require these actions to eliminate, relocate or combine a precinct in any other census tract or precinct.
It also requires a foreign Principal or agent to disclose their identity when making on line posts/Ads designed to influence an election or on policy issue or state official.
REASONS TO OPPOSE HB 57.
All voters’ rights and decisions on all polling place locations should be governed by the same rules. Every voter’s access to polling places should be protected equally. The provisions of HB 57 would be burdensome for local election boards, local governments and the courts. The provisions of HB 57 apply to census tracts with “voting age populations” not on registered voters.
The most dangerous provision of HB 57 is it would allow Absentee (or mail-in) ballots to be POSTMARKED THE DAY AFTER ELECTION DAY. Election results posted on Election Night or following morning would allow a candidate/slate/Party to know how many votes they need to change the result of the election and have time to get then postmarked and counted AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE POLLS.
HB 156 – Student & Military Voter Empowerment. Sponsored by Del. Luedtke. OPPOSE.
Establishes a Voter Coordinator & voting plan at every institution of hiring learning & military recruit station to encourage & support recognized student organizations engaged in voter registration & encourage students to vote.
This will be very expensive. It is unnecessary. Registering to vote is provided when students sign-up for classes. Some college are very “leftist” in their point of view and discriminate and disallow Republican or Conservative or Pro-Life groups “recognition” status on their campuses. This is an “Organize and Vote Democrat” proposal for colleges in the guise of increasing voter participation. Taxpayers’ money will be used to organize and get out the vote for Democrats on campuses across Maryland.
HB-341 – Absentee Ballot Canvass to start 14 days prior to Election. Provides that partial or complete tabulation of absentee ballots may not be released until one hour after polls close on election day or after all precincts have reported. Counting votes over two weeks is much less secure than counting votes on election day. It is more susceptible to manipulation or leakage of the total votes a candidate may have received while ballots are still being mailed. It is very difficult for volunteer vote-poll watchers to be present for 14 days. During the 2020 election poll watchers were excluded from the mail-in ballot counting. This should not be repeated.