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Article - Election Law




§3–204.

    (a)    (1)    The State Board shall designate public agencies and nongovernmental agencies as voter registration agencies where qualified individuals may apply to register to vote.

        (2)    The State Board shall designate the following offices as voter registration agencies:

            (i)    all offices in the State that provide public assistance;

            (ii)    all offices in the State that provide State–funded programs primarily engaged in providing services to individuals with disabilities;

            (iii)    all public institutions of higher education in the State; and

            (iv)    all one–stop career centers in the Maryland Department of Labor.

        (3)    The State Board and the Secretary of Defense shall jointly develop and implement procedures for persons to apply to register to vote at recruitment offices of the armed forces of the United States, which shall be deemed voter registration agencies.

    (a–1)    A voter registration agency that is subject to the requirements of § 3–203 of this subtitle:

        (1)    shall conduct voter registration in the manner specified in § 3–203 of this subtitle; and

        (2)    is not subject to the requirements of this section.

    (b)    Except for a public institution of higher education in the State, which institution shall comply with the requirements of subsection (c) of this section, each voter registration agency, as provided in subsection (a)(2) and (3) of this section, shall:

        (1)    distribute a voter registration application approved by the State Board or the Federal Election Commission with each application for service or assistance it renders and with each recertification, renewal, or change of address form relating to such service or assistance;

        (2)    provide a document to prospective registrants that includes:

            (i)    the question, “If you are not registered to vote where you live now, would you like to apply to register to vote here today?”;

            (ii)    if the agency provides public assistance, the statement, “Applying to register or declining to register to vote will not affect the amount of assistance that you will be provided by this agency.”;

            (iii)    boxes for the applicant to check to indicate whether the applicant would like to register or declines to register to vote together with the statement (in close proximity to the boxes and in prominent type), “If you do not check either box, you will be considered to have decided not to register to vote at this time.”;

            (iv)    the statement, “If you would like help in filling out the voter registration application form, we will help you. The decision whether to seek or accept help is yours. You may fill out the application form in private.”;

            (v)    the statement, “If you believe that someone has interfered with your right to register or to decline to register to vote, your right to privacy in deciding whether to register or in applying to register to vote, or your right to choose your own political party or other political preference, you may file a complaint with the State Board of Elections.”; and

            (vi)    the address and toll free telephone number of the State Board;

        (3)    provide each applicant who does not decline to register to vote and who accepts assistance the same degree of assistance with regard to completion of the registration application as is provided by the office with regard to the completion of its own applications, unless the applicant refuses such assistance;

        (4)    ensure that each application for service or assistance from the agency and each recertification, renewal, or change of address form relating to the service or assistance may not be completed until the applicant has indicated whether the applicant wishes to register to vote and is informed that if the applicant does not select a political party affiliation, the individual will be designated as not affiliated with a political party and will be unable to vote in a party primary election; and

        (5)    accept the completed voter registration application for transmittal to the appropriate election board.

    (c)    (1)    (i)    In this subsection the following words have the meanings indicated.

            (ii)    “Commission” means the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

            (iii)    “Institution of higher education” has the meaning stated in § 10–101(h) of the Education Article.

        (2)    (i)    On or before July 1, 2017, a public institution of higher education shall provide a link to the online voter registration system on the home page of the online portal used by students to register for course work.

            (ii)    The link to the online voter registration system shall be prominently placed on the home page in a location where it may be easily viewed by students registering for course work.

        (3)    On or before January 1, 2019, and each year thereafter, a public institution of higher education shall submit a report to the Commission that describes:

            (i)    the number of students who are residents of the State and registered for course work in the preceding calendar year at the public institution of higher education and the number of those students who clicked on the link required under paragraph (2) of this subsection; and

            (ii)    any efforts the public institution of higher education plans to make to improve access to voter registration for students at the institution.

        (4)    On or before January 15, 2019, and each year thereafter, the Commission shall compile and summarize the information reported by public institutions of higher education under paragraph (3) of this subsection, in a single report and submit the report to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Ways and Means, in accordance with § 2–1257 of the State Government Article.

    (d)    An applicant may mail the voter registration application to the appropriate State election official or return it to the voter registration agency for transmittal to the appropriate election official.

    (e)    Within 5 days from the acceptance of a voter registration application, the voter registration agency shall forward the application to the appropriate State election official.

    (f)    (1)    An applicant registering to vote at a voter registration agency may affirmatively consent to the use of the individual’s electronic signature that is on file with the voter registration agency as the individual’s signature for the application being submitted.

        (2)    If an applicant signs a voter registration application as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the voter registration agency shall transmit an electronic copy of the applicant’s signature to the State Board within 5 days after the day on which the agency accepted the application.

    (g)    If a voter registration agency is an office described in subsection (a)(2)(ii) of this section, which provides services to an individual with a disability at the individual’s home, the agency shall provide the services described in subsection (b) of this section at the individual’s home.

    (h)    (1)    An individual who provides any service described in subsection (b) of this section may not:

            (i)    seek to influence an applicant’s political preference or party registration;

            (ii)    display any political preference or party allegiance; or

            (iii)    make any statement to an applicant or take any action the purpose or effect of which is to lead the applicant to believe that a decision to register or not to register has any bearing on the availability of services or benefits.

        (2)    No information relating to a declination to register to vote in connection with an application made at an office designated as a voter registration agency may be used for any purpose other than the maintenance of voter registration statistics.

        (3)    Notwithstanding § 3–501 of this title and § 4–401 of the General Provisions Article, the identity of a voter registration agency through which a particular voter has registered may not be disclosed to the public.

    (i)    Regulations necessary to carry out the requirements of this section and § 3–203 of this subtitle, including provisions for training the employees of voter registration agencies and the Motor Vehicle Administration, shall be adopted by the State Board in cooperation with each agency.

    (j)    On or before January 1, 2018, and January 1 each subsequent year, the Maryland Department of Labor shall submit a report, in accordance with § 2–1257 of the State Government Article, to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee that describes:

        (1)    the efforts of the one–stop career centers to register voters under this section in the preceding calendar year; and

        (2)    any efforts the Department plans to make to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the voter registration process at the one–stop career centers.