Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) plans on Friday to propose expanding early voting days in Maryland and, for the first time, allowing residents to register on the same day that they cast ballots — moves certain to rankle Republicans. The legislation seeks to build upon an early voting plan in place in Maryland since 2010 that was vigorously fought for years by the state’s minority party, including O’Malley’s Republican predecessor, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
In November, many voters in Maryland’s largest jurisdictions stood in line for hours to cast their ballots early, and three times as many Democrats as Republicans took advantage of the opportunity, according to State Board of Elections statistics.
David Ferguson, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, said that same-day registration would invite voter fraud and more broadly questioned the governor’s motivations. “Anytime Governor O’Malley and Democrats start messing with election law, I’m suspicious,” Ferguson said, adding that he had not seen the plan.
O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said that the bill is simply “about providing more opportunities for citizens to register and vote.”