Maryland Democrats plan to propose legislation next year that would automatically place eligible residents on state voter rolls, a move that would make Maryland the third state to adopt what advocates call a “universal registration” system. State Sen. Roger P. Manno (D-Montgomery) has pre-filed a bill for the 2016 legislative session to implement such a plan, and Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery) said he is drafting a similar measure to introduce in the House. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) have indicated that they might push for automatic registration next year as a way to increase voting accessibility.
Busch’s chief of staff, Alexandra Hughes, said the speaker is “very supportive” of automatic registration, and an aide to Miller said the senator thinks lawmakers should seriously consider any measures that increase the number of eligible voters who are registered.
The two states that already have adopted similar registration systems are, like Maryland, heavily Democratic. Republicans have largely opposed such measures, criticizing them as Democratic attempts to find new voters who are likely to support the Democratic Party.