General’s Task Force on Voting Irregularities
Submits First Report
Includes 13 Recommendations for Policy Changes
BALTIMORE, MD (April
29, 2008) –Attorney General Douglas
F. Gansler’s Task Force on Voting Irregularities today released
the first of two reports to the Attorney General containing 13
recommendations for improving the voting process in Maryland. Attorney
General Gansler created the Task Force in May 2007 to examine election
irregularities and obstacles to voting in recent elections and
to make recommendations for policy changes. Co-chaired by Professor
Sherrilyn Iffil and Orlan Johnson, Esq., the Task Force held public
hearings over the last year across Maryland to hear first hand
from citizens the problems they encountered when they attempted
to cast their vote.
The Task Force found that many of the issues brought to its attention
will require long-term solutions and changes. However, given the
urgency of the 2008 General Election, the Task Force decided to
issue its report in two parts. The first report is limited to identifying
and addressing problems that can be addressed in time for the General
Election this year. Later this year, the Task Force will issue
a second report describing some of the long-term solutions that
should be taken up by legislative, administrative and executive
officers in the State to improve the conduct of elections.
The list of 13 recommendations made by the Task Force in the first
- A review of
governance and key election management practices;
transparency of election board processes and public access;
of and improved training for local election officials on
- An assessment and
public release by local boards of planned allocation of voting
machines and technicians
for each polling place;
- Increased efforts
by the Attorney General in promoting voter education and election
efforts, and provisions of election
day hotlines services by the Attorney General to address misleading
campaign ads and voter questions;
- Ensuring compliance
with voter registration requirements of the federal National
Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”)
in public agencies;
- Enforcement of procedures
for physical layout of election machines at polling places
increase voter privacy;
- A review of procedures
for informing judges at polling places and the public of court
voting hours on election day;
- The creation of
more effective signage and information on ballot questions
provided to voters on election day;
- Improved voter registration
efforts for ex-offender population;
- Provisions made
for voting of eligible pre-trial detainees;
- Address organized
voter suppression efforts and review of rationale for police
presence at local polling places;
- Review of and attention
to proper procedures mandated for meaningful access to voting
for disabled voters.
“The health of our democratic system depends on our ability
to ensure that all citizens entitled to vote may do so,” said
Attorney General Gansler. “I am appreciative of the hard
work and expertise of the members of the Task Force as they committed
to completing this report over the last year. It is my hope that
as elected officials we take these recommendations and put them
into practice to improve the voting process across Maryland.”
MEMBERS OF THE TASK FORCE:
Christopher Brown is
a partner in the Baltimore law firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy.
He has extensive experience litigating voting rights cases in
the state of Maryland.
Kimberly Haven is executive director of Justice Maryland, a statewide
advocacy organization and its voter re-enfranchisement campaign
Maryland, Got Democracy. In 2007, she became the first newly re-enfranchised
former felon to exercise her right to vote. Haven lives and works
in Baltimore City.
Sherrilyn A. Ifill is a civil rights lawyer and a law professor
at the University of Maryland School of Law.
Moonyene Jackson-Amis, Esq is an elected official in Talbot County
Maryland serving a second, four-year term on the Easton Town Council.
Deborah Jeon is the
legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.
She has done extensive work on voting rights
issues, much of it on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Orlan Johnson is a partner at Saul Ewing, LLP and assistant adjunct
professor at Howard University School of Law.
Darryl Jones is a lawyer who serves as the representative from
District 1 on the County Council of Anne Arundel County.
John Morris is an attorney in Baltimore.
Josue Pierre is an attorney with the Law Office of J. Pierre,
PC. He has been involved with various campaigns for political office
in municipal, county, and state elections. Pierre lives and works
in Prince Georges County.
Lu Pierson, Baltimore City, is president of the Maryland League
of Women Voters, and a former member of the Baltimore City Election
Board and State Election Board.
Carl O. Snowden is a former three-term member of the Annapolis
City Council. He currently serves as director for the Office of
Civil Rights in the Office of the Maryland Attorney General.
Gregory Wims is a businessman and the former president of the
Montgomery County of the NAACP.
John Willis is a former Maryland Secretary of State, professor
at the University of Baltimore.
A copy of the Task Force report can be found here.