A bill currently being discussed in the state legislator would require voters to show identification at the polls to be able to cast a ballot.
House Bill 137, introduced on Jan. 17 by a number of delegates, would prevent individuals without a government-issued photo ID, voter notice card or specimen ballot from voting on a regular ballot. Such individuals would then be able to fill out a provisional ballot. Voters currently must state their name upon arriving to vote, at which an election judge checks to confirm if the would-be voter is on the election register or the inactive list. Individuals who are in one of these indexes may then vote on a regular ballot. Delegate Michael Smigiel (R-Cecil), one of the sponsors of the bill, said the proposal is intended to prevent voter fraud from becoming an issue.
“I think voting fraud is going to be a lot bigger problem if we continue to do things to make things much easier for people who are walking up to polls, coming in from outside the country,” Smigiel said. He cited the example of Wendy Rosen, a former Democratic candidate for Maryland’s first district seat in the House of Representatives, who pleaded guilty this month to voting in multiple states in past elections.
Joanna Diamond, public policy associate at the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, said the Rosen example is a unique case and one that the bill would not have prevented.
Ross Goldstein, deputy state administrator for the Maryland State Board of Elections, said he does not think voter fraud is an issue in the state. “Always a few random cases, but I don’t recall anything specific regarding this type of identity fraud,” Goldstein said.