Annapolis eyes repeal of voter ID law

January 30, 2002|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

Pleading for Annapolis to lead the state in voter reform measures, a number of people have urged the new Annapolis city council not to strike down the city's unique voter identification law.

About 15 people testified in support of the law at a public hearing Monday night, including the measure's primary proponent, failed Republican mayoral candidate and former Alderman Herbert H. McMillan.

Three people, including a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, testified in favor of the repeal, which has the support of most of the council.

"We strongly support Annapolis' current progressive and fair voter identification law and oppose this effort to eradicate common-sense 21st-century identification procedures that safeguard the inclusiveness, fairness and integrity of our elections," McMillan told the council on behalf of the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee.

"Annapolis needs a voter identity law because Maryland's voter integrity protections are practically nonexistent," he said.

McMillan and other supporters called unfounded fears that the law - which requires voters to present identification or sign an affidavit before casting their ballots in city elections - could hinder voters. The law was implemented in last fall's elections with few complaints.

They pointed to other circumstances where individuals must present identification, such as when writing a check or when entering many public buildings since Sept. 11.

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