2021 General Assembly Session Election Legislation

Our Democracy Task Force is not active during the legislative sessions, but we are tracking a number of election reform bills. Unlike many other states, Maryland has been trending towards more democracy and greater access to voting in recent years.
Subject
Bill Number
XFile Bill Number
Sponsor
Title
Status
Current Location
Synopsis
Absentee ballot canvass
HB0341
Delegate Lehman
Election – Absentee Ballot Canvass – Start and Release of Tabulation
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Altering the earliest day on which a local board of elections may open an envelope of an absentee ballot from the Wednesday after election day to 14 days before election day; altering a requirement for a local board to release an unofficial absentee ballot vote tabulation at the end of each day of canvassing to apply only on and after election day; prohibiting a person from releasing a partial or complete tabulation of absentee ballot votes before a certain time; etc.
Absentee ballots
SB0233
Senator Simonaire
Election Law - Absentee Ballots - Envelope Prohibitions, Ballot Status Information, and Signature Verification
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Requiring that certain guidelines for absentee voting provide for voter access to information concerning the status of the voter's absentee ballot or absentee ballot application; prohibiting an envelope enclosing an absentee ballot from including language or information that visibly identifies the political party affiliation of the voter; prohibiting ballot/return and return envelopes from including language or information that visibly identifies the party affiliation of the voter; etc.
Contested Elections
HB0761
SB0632
Delegate Kaiser
Election Law - Postelection Procedures
No hearing or vote in committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Altering the circumstances under which a certain petitioner for a recount is not liable for the costs of the recount; providing that certain provisions of the Act apply only to persons that accept public campaign financing under certain provisions of law; providing that a person may accept a donation or make a disbursement related to a contested election only under certain circumstances; requiring that certain unspent public contributions be repaid to a certain government entity; etc.
Contested Elections
SB0632
HB0761
Senator Kagan
Election Law – Contested Elections
Senate Requests House Recede
No Conference Committee appointed
Prohibiting certain candidates from petitioning for a recount under certain circumstances; prohibiting a registered voter from filing a petition for a recount based on the certified results of a ballot question under certain circumstances; altering the circumstances under which a certain petitioner for a recount is not liable for the costs of the recount; providing that certain provisions of the Act apply only to persons that accept public campaign financing under certain provisions of law; etc.
Disabled voter assistance
HB0423
SB0271
Delegate Feldmark
Election Law - Voting Systems - Accessibility for Voters With Disabilities
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Requiring each voter to use a ballot marking device that is accessible to voters with disabilities to vote at early voting centers and election day polling places to ensure that access is provided to voters with disabilities in accordance with a certain provision of law; applying the Act to all elections beginning with the statewide primary election held under a certain provision of law in 2022; etc.
Disabled voter assistance
SB0271
HB0423
Senator Lam
Election Law – Voting Systems – Accessibility for Voters With Disabilities
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Requiring each voter to use a ballot marking device that is accessible to voters with disabilities to vote at early voting centers and election day polling places to ensure that access is provided to voters with disabilities in accordance with a certain provision of law; applying the Act to all elections beginning with the statewide primary election held under a certain provision of law in 2022; etc.
Early Voting
HB0211
Delegate Bhandari
Election Law - Early Voting Centers - Days of Operation
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Requiring an early voting center to be open beginning the second Thursday before a primary or general election through the Saturday, rather than the Thursday, before the election.
Early Voting - Hours
HB0206
SB0596
Delegate Washington
Election Law – Early Voting Centers – Hours of Operation
Passed Enrolled
Governor (signature or veto)
Requiring early voting centers to be open during the hours between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. during each early voting day in elections other than a presidential general election.
Early Voting - Hours
SB0596
HB0206
Senator Washington
Election Law - Early Voting Centers - Hours of Operation
Returned Passed
Governor (signature or veto)
Requiring early voting centers to be open during the hours between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. each early voting day.
Early voting centers - number
HB0745
Delegate Luedtke
Election Law - Early Voting Centers
Enacted under Article II, Section 17(b) of the Maryland Constitution - Chapter 43
Altering the number of early voting centers counties are required to establish; clarifying the process by which one additional early voting center may be established in a county in excess of the number of required to be established; and requiring a local board of elections, in determining the location of centers, to take into account the accessibility of centers to historically disenfranchised communities, proximity to dense concentrations of voters, accessibility by public transportation, and equitable distribution of centers in the county.
Election Integrity
HB0690
SB0036
Delegate Hornberger
Election Integrity Act
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Requiring a certain agent of a voter to be a family member or member of the voter's household to pick up and deliver the voter's absentee ballot; prohibiting a certain campaign volunteer from being designated by a voter as a certain agent to pick up and deliver an absentee ballot; and prohibiting a certain agent of a voter from picking up and delivering more than three absentee ballots during each election.
Election Integrity
SB0036
HB0690
Senator Gallion
Election Integrity Act
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Requiring a certain agent of a voter to be a family member or member of the voter's household to pick up and deliver the voter's absentee ballot; prohibiting a certain campaign volunteer from being designated by a voter as a certain agent to pick up and deliver an absentee ballot; and prohibiting a certain agent of a voter from picking up and delivering more than three absentee ballots during each election.
Election reform
SB0831
Senator Kagan
Election Reform Act of 2021
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Altering certain provisions of law to require the State Board of Elections to make all open meeting materials publicly available on its website before a certain meeting; altering the method by which a political party is determined for the purpose of determining the composition of the local boards of elections; requiring a local board to designate the locations of ballot drop boxes; establishing a Maryland Debate Commission to develop guidelines for conducting debates before certain elections for certain candidates; etc.
Elections by Mail
HB0153
Delegate Ivey
Election Law - Elections by Mail
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Requiring each local board of elections to send by nonforwardable mail, a vote-by-mail ballot to each individual who is registered to vote as of the 21st day before the day of each election; requiring that vote-by-mail ballots be mailed at a certain time; requiring a voter to take certain actions to vote a vote-by-mail ballot; requiring that the instructions provided with each vote-by-mail ballot include a certain warning; etc.
Elections by Mail
HB0274
Delegate Cardin
Election Law - Elections by Mail
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Requiring each local board of elections to send a vote-by-mail ballot by mail to each individual who is registered to vote as of a certain day before the day of each election; requiring the vote-by-mail ballots to be mailed at a certain time; requiring a voter who receives a vote-by-mail ballot and who decides to vote in person to discard the vote-by-mail ballot; authorizing a voter who discards a vote-by-mail ballot under a certain provision of this Act to vote by certain other methods; etc.
Firearms ban
HB0450
SB0010
Delegate Henson
Election Law – Polling Sites – Firearms Prohibitions
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Prohibiting a person from carrying or displaying a firearm on the premises of a privately or publicly owned building being used as a polling site during an election, including in a parking lot, or carrying or possessing a firearm within 100 feet of a polling site during an election, subject to a certain exception; and establishing a certain civil penalty of up $5,000 for a certain violation. etc.
Firearms ban
SB0010
HB0450
Senator Waldstreicher
Election Law – Polling Sites – Firearms Prohibitions
Passed Senate-No vote in House Committee
Ways and Means
Prohibiting a person from carrying or displaying a firearm on the premises of a privately or publicly owned building being used as a polling site during an election, including in a parking lot, or carrying or possessing a firearm within 100 feet of a polling site during an election, subject to certain exceptions; and establishing a certain civil penalty of up to $5,000 for a certain violation.
Foreign voting systems
HB0369
Delegate Rosenberg
Election Law – Foreign Manufacture of Election Systems – Notification and Termination of Contract
Passed House-Amended in Senate
House did not accept or reject Senate amendments
Prohibiting the State Board of Elections from approving a contract with an election service provider unless the contract requires the election service provider to report to the State Administrator of Elections if any stage in the manufacturing of a component of the provider's election system occurred outside the United States or if any material change to a component in any stage in the manufacturing of an election system occurred outside the United States; requiring the State Administrator to forward the report within 5 days; etc.
Inmate voting
HB0053
Delegate Ivey
Election Law - Voting Rights - Imprisoned Felons
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Altering the circumstances under which an individual is not qualified to be a registered voter for the purpose of allowing individuals convicted of a felony and serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment for the conviction to register to vote; repealing a requirement that certain officials of the circuit court and the District Courts report certain information to the State Administrator of Elections regarding individuals convicted of a felony; etc.
Leave for voting
HB0398
SB0158
Delegate Palakovich Carr
Election Law – Time Off for Employee Voting
Passed House - No vote in Senate Committee
Finance
Requiring every employer in the State to allow any employee who does not have 2 hours of continuous off-duty time when the polls are open up to 2 hours absence from work to vote in an election; altering the requirement that certain employees furnish to their employers certain proof the employee has voted to specify that the proof be furnished in a timely manner; and prohibiting an employer from discriminating, retaliating, or taking any form of reprisal against an employee who is absent from work to vote.
Leave for voting
SB0158
HB0398
Senator Lee
Election Law - Time Off for Employee Voting
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Finance
Requiring every employer in the State to allow any employee, rather than any employee who claims to be a registered voter, in the State up to 2 hours absence from work to vote in an election, rather than only on election day; altering the requirement that certain employees furnish to their employers certain proof to specify that the proof be reasonable and furnished in a timely manner; and prohibiting an employer from discriminating, retaliating, or taking any form of reprisal against an employee who is absent from work to vote.
Mail, early, polling places
SB0029
Senator Kramer
Election Law - Voting - Elections by Mail, Polling Places, and Early Voting Centers
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Requiring each local board of elections to send a vote-by-mail ballot to each individual who is registered to vote as the 21st day before the day of each election; requiring the State Board to establish a certain date by which the vote-by-mail ballots must be mailed; requiring a voter to take certain actions to vote a vote-by-mail ballot; requiring the instructions provided with each vote-by-mail ballot to include a certain warning; authorizing a voter to return a marked vote-by-mail ballot to a local board by certain methods; etc.
Mail-in ballot design
HB1345
Delegate Kaiser
Mail-In Voting - Certification of Assistance, Design of Materials, and Ballot Curing
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Requiring that a certain certification executed by an individual rendering assistance to an absentee voter be on a certain envelope instead of included in certain instructions; requiring the State Board of Elections to establish consistent designs for certain absentee voting materials that must be used by all the local boards of elections; requiring that the designs for absentee voting materials implement best practices for plain language and be updated before each election as appropriate; etc.
Mail-in voting enhancement
HB1047
Delegate Wilkins
Mail–In Voting Enhancement Act
Senate Refuses to Recede
No Conference Committee appointed
Requiring the State Board of Elections to complete a comprehensive report analyzing the election after each statewide election; requiring the report to be posted on the State Board's website and submitted to the General Assembly; requiring that certain guidelines for absentee voting provide for the return of absentee ballots using ballot drop boxes and for voter access to information concerning the status of the voter's absentee ballot; requiring the State Board to ensure that ballot drop boxes are available during a certain period; etc.
Multiple ballots cast
HB1068
Delegate Feldmark
Election Law – Absentee Ballot Canvassing – Multiple Ballots Cast by an Individual
Passed House - No vote in Senate Committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Requiring a local board of elections to count an absentee ballot and reject a provisional ballot if the local board receives a legally sufficient absentee ballot and a provisional ballot from the same individual.
Permanent absentee list
HB1048
Delegate Wilkins
Election Law - Voting - Permanent Absentee Ballot List, Ballot Drop Boxes, and Reports
Passed Enrolled
Governor (signature or veto)
Requiring that certain guidelines for absentee voting established by the State Board of Elections provide for a permanent absentee ballot list; providing that all voters are eligible for permanent absentee ballot status; requiring a voter to complete and submit certain information to request permanent absentee ballot status; prohibiting a voter who requests permanent absentee ballot status from receiving an absentee ballot for the next election if the request is made after a certain deadline; etc.
Permanent absentee list
SB0683
Senator Kramer
Election Law - Voting - Permanent Absentee Ballot List, Ballot Drop Boxes, and Reports
Enacted under Article II, Section 17(b) of the Maryland Constitution - Chapter 56
Requiring a local board of elections to designate the locations of ballot drop boxes in accordance with certain factors; requiring each local board to submit proposed ballot drop box locations to the State Administrator of Elections; requiring a local board to ensure the security of ballot drop boxes; requiring that certain guidelines for absentee voting established by the State Board provide for a permanent absentee ballot list; prohibiting canvassing, electioneering, or posting campaign material on a ballot drop box; etc.
Presidential Electors
HB0202
Delegate Stein
Election Law - Presidential Electors - Selection and Voting
Withdrawn
Altering the procedures for the selection of presidential elector nominees; requiring certain presidential elector nominees and alternates to execute a certain pledge; requiring the Governor to certify certain presidential electors and make certain statements in the certificate of ascertainment; requiring the State Administrator of Elections to preside at a certain meeting of certain presidential electors; requiring a certain individual to execute a certain pledge to qualify as a substitute presidential elector; etc.
Processing Mail Ballots
HB0760
Delegate Kaiser
Election Law - Time for Processing Absentee Ballots
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Authorizing a local board of elections to take certain actions to prepare an absentee ballot for tabulation during the period beginning 14 days before election day through 8 p.m. on election day; prohibiting a local board from tabulating absentee ballots before a certain time; altering a requirement that a local board prepare and release a report of the unofficial results of the absentee ballot tabulation at the end of the each day of canvassing to apply the requirement only to a certain period; etc.
Public financing
HB0424
SB0415
Delegate Feldmark
Public Financing Act - Matching Fund Revisions (Maryland Fair Elections Act)
Favorable Report by Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Senate Floor (no vote taken)
Requiring the Comptroller to distribute public contributions to a certain campaign finance entity established to receive public contributions for certain eligible candidates; requiring the State Board of Elections to make a certain determination regarding the balance of the Fair Campaign Financing Fund on or before a certain date in certain years; requiring in fiscal year 2023 the governor to include in the annual budget bill an appropriation of at least $4,000,000 to the Fund; etc.
Public financing
SB0415
HB0424
Senator Pinsky
Public Financing Act - Matching Fund Revisions (Maryland Fair Elections Act)
Passed Enrolled
Governor (signature or veto)
Requiring the Comptroller to distribute public contributions to a certain campaign finance entity established to receive public contributions for certain eligible candidates; requiring the State Board of Elections to make a certain determination regarding the balance of the Fair Campaign Financing Fund on or before a certain date in certain years; requiring the Governor, in fiscal year 2023, to include in the annual budget bill an appropriation of at least $4,000,000 to the Fund; etc.
Public financing-MGA
HB0536
SB0416
Delegate Acevero
Public Financing Act - State Senate and House of Delegates Candidates and Matching Fund Revisions
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Altering the candidates authorized to receive public contributions from the Fair Campaign Financing Fund to include candidates for State Senator and member of the House of Delegates; requiring the Comptroller to distribute public contributions to a certain campaign finance entity established to receive public contributions for certain eligible candidates; altering the frequency with which the Comptroller is required to submit a certain statement to the State Board of Elections; etc.
Public financing-MGA
SB0416
HB0536
Senator Pinsky
Public Financing Act - State Senate and House of Delegates Candidates and Matching Fund Revisions
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Altering the candidates authorized to receive public contributions from the Fair Campaign Financing Fund to include candidates for State Senator and member of the House of Delegates; requiring the Comptroller to distribute public contributions to a certain campaign finance entity established to receive public contributions for certain eligible candidates; altering the frequency with which the Comptroller is required to submit a certain statement to the State Board of Elections; etc.
Public transportation
HB0493
Delegate Guyton
Election Law - Voting Locations - Accessibility by Public Transportation and Voters With Disabilities
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Requiring, in counties that have fixed-route public transportation services, the local boards of elections to give priority to placing ballot drop boxes at locations that are not more than 500 feet from a public transportation station or stop and designating polling places located not more than 500 feet from a public transportation station or stop; requiring ballot drop boxes be placed in a manner that is accessible to voters with disabilities; etc.
Public transportation
HB0656
Delegate Crosby
Election Law - Early Voting Centers - Bus Stops
Passed House - No vote in Senate Committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Requiring that, if any early voting center is located within one-half mile of a fixed local bus route, buses operating on that route, shall, to the maximum extent practical, allow passengers to embark and disembark at the entrance of the early voting center during the times the center is open for voting.
Redistricting
HB0410
Delegate Malone
Congressional Districts - Standards (Anti-Gerrymandering of Maryland's Congressional Districts)
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Rules and Executive Nominations
Proposing an amendment to the Maryland Constitution to require congressional districts to conform to certain standards, to prohibit the accounting for certain information relating to the voting history and party affiliation of certain individuals, and to require that due regard be given to natural boundaries and boundaries of political subdivisions; and submitting the amendment to the qualified voters of the State for their adoption or rejection.
Release from prison-info
HB0222
SB0224
Delegate Wilkins
Election Law - Correctional Facilities - Voter Registration and Voting
Passed Enrolled
Governor (signature or veto)
Requiring the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to provide each individual who is released from a correctional facility with a voter registration application and documentation informing the individual that the individual's voting rights have been restored; requiring correctional facilities to provide a drop box that incarcerated individuals may use to submit election-related materials; establishing a Voting Rights Ombudsman for Incarcerated Individuals to oversee the implementation of the Act; etc.
Release from prison-info
SB0224
HB0222
Senator West
Election Law – Correctional Facilities – Voter Registration and Voting
First Reading House Rules and Executive Nominations
Rules and Executive Nominations
Requiring the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to provide each individual who is released from a correctional facility with a voter registration application and documentation informing the individual that the individual's voting rights have been restored; requiring the State Board of Elections to adopt certain regulations establishing a program to inform eligible voters incarcerated in correctional facilities of upcoming elections and how to exercise the right to vote; etc.
Single-member districts
HB0655
Delegate Crosby
Local Elections - County Commissioner and County Boards of Education - District Voting
Passed House - No vote in Senate Committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Requiring an election of a county commissioner or members of certain county boards of education to represent a specific district to be decided by a plurality of the votes cast within that district; and applying certain provisions of the Act only to code counties and commission counties.
Student & military voters
HB0156
SB0283
Delegate Luedtke
Student and Military Voter Empowerment Act
Passed Enrolled
Governor (signature or veto)
Requiring a local board of elections to obtain input from large residential communities including institutions of higher education, continuing care retirement communities, senior communities, and military installations when establishing precinct boundaries and designating polling places; establishing a process for certain voters to submit a federal post card application electronically which may allow the use of a common access card only for verification of identity and fulfillment of the signature requirement; etc.
Student & military voters
SB0283
HB0156
Senator Elfreth
Student and Military Voter Empowerment Act
Passed Enrolled
Governor (signature or veto)
Requiring a local board of elections to obtain input from large residential institutional communities including institutions of higher education, continuing care retirement communities, senior communities, and military installations when establishing precinct boundaries and designating polling places; establishing a process for certain voters to submit a federal post card application electronically, which may allow the use of a common access card only for verification of identity and fulfillment of the signature requirement; etc.
Voter list security
HB0355
SB0037
Delegate Ruth
Election Law - Registered Voter List Security and Electronic Signature Requirements for Petitions
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Requiring the State Board of Elections to adopt regulations specifying requirements for the secure storage and use of voter data for copies of the registered voters list; requiring the State Board to adopt regulations specifying procedures for the collection of electronic signatures on petitions; authorizing certain petitions to contain the electronic signature of certain individuals; requiring electronic signatures to be electronically signed, typed, or affixed to a certain form; etc.
Voter list security
SB0037
HB0355
Senator Carter
Election Law - Registered Voter List Security and Electronic Signature Requirements for Petitions
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Requiring the State Board of Elections to adopt regulations specifying requirements for the secure storage and use of voter data for copies of the registered voters list; requiring the State Board to adopt regulations specifying procedures for the collection of electronic signatures on petitions; authorizing certain petitions to contain the electronic signature of certain individuals; requiring electronic signatures to be electronically signed, typed, or affixed to a certain form; etc.
Voters in need of assistance
HB0245
Delegate Hill
Election Judges - Training and Signs - Accommodations for Voters in Need of Assistance
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Requiring that certain training materials used by the program of instruction for election judges include oral and written instruction in certain methods an election judge may use to assist or accommodate elderly and disabled voters in voting; requiring the State Board of Elections to develop a sign stating the various methods election judges may use to assist or accommodate elderly and disabled voters; and requiring that a certain sign be a certain size and posted prominently at the entrance of each polling site.
Voters in need of assistance
HB0247
Delegate Guyton
Election Law - Accommodations for Voters in Need of Assistance
Passed House - No vote in Senate Committee
Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Requiring the training materials used by the program of instruction for election judges to include oral and written instructions in the various methods an election judge may use to accommodate voters in need of assistance; requiring the State Board to produce materials to be posted at polling places relating to accommodations for voters in need of assistance; Requiring a chief election judge to give voting order priority to persons with mobility problems, a person assisting others with mobility problems, and persons with a disabled child; etc.
Voters' Rights Protection
HB0057
Delegate Rosenberg
Voters' Rights Protection Act of 2020
Hearing Held - No vote in committee
Ways and Means
Prohibiting a local board of elections from making a covered change in voting locations except under certain circumstances; requiring a local board to attempt to contact a voter who failed to sign a paper absentee ballot application and attempt to obtain the voter's signature for a certain purpose; prohibiting a person from using a camera, a cellular telephone, or another device capable of recording video to record voters as they approach or deposit ballots in a ballot drop box except under certain circumstances; etc.