Annapolis, MD — 53 years after the Voting Rights Act expanded the franchise to African Americans, and nearly 100 years since women won the right to vote, Maryland is moving forward with legislation to make voting easier and more accessible. Today, Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews issued the following statement after the Maryland Senate approved the Secure and Accessible Registration Act (SARA)—legislation to expand the franchise and ensure access to the ballot box for all Marylanders:
“For too long we have wrestled with barriers to voting, instead of looking for ways to expand the franchise to more Americans. Creating an automatic registration program that links voting to everyday processes, like getting a driver’s license or collecting your health benefits, will make our democracy even stronger.
“I applaud Senator Will Smith, Senate President Mike Miller and our Democratic Senators for taking this bold step, and I look forward to this bill becoming the law of the land in Maryland, so every Marylander of voting age has unfettered access to the ballot box.”
The bill requires the state agencies, including the State Board of Elections, Motor Vehicle Administration and the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to create an automatic voter registration system, and to provide all unenrolled eligible Maryland voters with a voter registration form to those individuals.