The state Democratic Party, mindful of past “shenanigans” at the polls, launched a program Wednesday that they said would protect Marylanders’ right to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Two of the party’s senior leaders, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, held a news conference in Baltimore to call attention to the Democrats’ “voter empowerment operation.” Cummings said voters in Maryland face fewer barriers than those in many other states that have adopted voter ID requirements that Democrats believe are designed to suppress the minority vote. But he said Maryland Democrats have to be on guard. “We cannot remain silent when people are trying to lessen the rights of people to vote,” said Cummings, a veteran Baltimore congressman. With eight days of early voting starting Thursday, the Democrats have set up a hotline — 1-888-678-VOTE — where people can receive information on when and where to vote and report any problems at the polls.
Amanda LaForge, counsel to the state Democratic Party, said attorneys will be available to deal with any legal issues. She said that among the problems voters should call about are long lines, malfunctioning machines, misleading literature and polls that don’t open on time.
LaForge noted that Maryland voters have a right to cast a provisional ballot if their names do not appear on the rolls where they attempt to vote. She also noted that Maryland law also permits voters to cast ballots without showing ID cards, except in the case of first-time voters who didn’t show ID at registration. The lawyer also said voters who are in line by 8 p.m. have a right to vote on the regular touch-screen machines.