This year has seen unprecedented energy among voters new and old, said Mary G. Wilson, League of Women Voters president. During the primary season, we were thrilled to see millions of new Americansparticularly women, African Americans, and young peopleregister to vote and turn out at the polls. Election Day, November 4th, is approaching rapidly, but there is still time to get registered before your states deadline.
Voter registration application forms can be picked up at your local county board of elections office or downloaded from http://elections.state.md.us/voter_registration/application.html .
Citizens can check online to see if they are currently registered by going to http://www.mdelections.org/voter_registration/v2/vote_prod.php. You will have to enter your first and last name, zip code of registered address, and your date of birth.
If you find that you are registered, but the address on file is no longer valid, you should contact your county's board of elections to update the information.
In recent years, political operatives have used a mailing list purging methodology termed caging to remove voters from the rolls. Caging involves sending letters to registered voters which instruct the post office to return the letter to sender if the address is no longer valid. Operatives then used the returned letters to challenge the respective voters at the polls. While the challenged voters are typically allowed to vote with a provisional ballot, in practice, those ballots are rarely counted.
Caging is an illegal practice. But, in recent years, little has been done to prosecute violators.
The homeforeclosure crisis may prove to be yet another obstacle to voters this year, with so many people losing their homes, upon which their current voter registration is based.
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler sent a letter to the State Board of Elections and copied the local boards of elections stating the law in regards to registered voters who may have recently foreclosed on their homes. The letter was sent in response to widespread media reports and numerous calls about efforts to challenge voters who have lost their homes to foreclosure.
In Maryland, an individual is entitled to vote in the ward or election district in which he resides, and retains the right to vote in that ward or district until he establishes a residence in another ward or district, stated Gansler.
Gansler said he wants to make clear to voters that persons who lose their homes to foreclosure do not lose their right to vote. "Both the Federal and State constitutions guarantee citizens the right to vote," states Attorney General Gansler. "The strength of our democratic system depends on ensuring that all citizens entitled to vote may do so. Public confidence in the election process cannot be maintained if voters are impeded from exercising their right to vote by intimidation, misinformation or deceit."
Maryland State Board of Elections
Contact Info for County Boards of Election in So. Md.
Absentee Voting: 2008 Presidential Elections