A Coalition of organizations working toward increasing access to the ballot, will b advocating for the Secure and Accessible Registration Act (SARA). The bill will take advantage of the technological upgrades made in 2016 between the SBE and covered agencies (the motor Vehicle Administration, Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, local departments of social services, and the motility certification office in the Maryland Transit Administration) to make voter registration faster, more secure, and easier than ever.
How It Works
Streamline the process: Currently, when Marylanders interact with covered agencies, such as when they apply for the driver’s license, they must go through a separate step and re-input their data in order register to vote. As is often the case, Marylanders’ skip the registration process.
SARA will alleviate this by streamlining the process. As Marylanders already provide sufficient information to register to vote, there’s no reason for an extra step. Covered agencies will simply use already-acquired information to register voters at the end of a transaction (such as an address change at the MVA0. Unless the Marylander declines this, their information will be seamlessly transferred to the SBE with little input necessary.
Create Cleaner Voting Rolls
Seamlessly transferring and updating voter registration data is important both for increasing election security and voter access. When Marylanders move and update their address with a covered agency, their voter registrations will update as well-meaning jurisdictions will have fewer outdated registrations on the books, and that voters’ registrations will reflect their new precincts, reducing confusion and the need for provisional ballots.
Increase voter registration
Voters skip the opportunity to register during their time at covered agencies for a variety of reasons. Some don’t want to register; which SARA will respect. But for the thousands of others, SARA will seamlessly register those voters so that they can have their voes heard on election day.
"As Americans, we believe democracy is for all, yet it has been a slow and sometimes painful and bloody process to expand access to all eligible voters. Removing barriers to participation and allowing citizens the freedom to participate as they choose are central to delivering on the promises of democracy. To achieve a reflective democracy – where the needs of the people are reflected in our budgets, our policies, and our programs – all eligible Marylanders must have the ability to register to vote."
--- Testimony from DI Executive Director Wendy Fields
Participation is "Central to Delivering on the Promises of Democracy"
The Secure and Accessible Registration Act (SARA) expands the ability of eligible voters to register through certain state agencies and have their information transferred securely to the Board of Elections. The DI's communications Director, Michelle Whittaker, joined Damon Effingham from Common Cause Maryland, Natalie Tennant from the Brennan Center for Justice, Emily Scarr from Maryland PIRG, and other Local and state advocates to support the Secure and Accessible Registration Act (SARA).
Supporting Efforts on Secure and Accessible Registration Act (SARA) with DI
The DI is supporting efforts on the ground in Maryland to expand voting access along with increasing participation through public financing in Prince George's County. Day of Action for SARA is Tuesday, March 13.
To get involved, email Getachew kassa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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