Bill would allow early voting

January 12, 2007|By MELISSA HARRIS

A state constitutional amendment to allow early voting in Maryland was the first bill to be introduced in the Maryland Senate yesterday.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is the chief sponsor of the amendment, which would allow the General Assembly to set additional days besides Election Day for in-person voting. Similar legislation is expected in the House of Delegates.

Last year, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that the General Assembly did not have the power to enact early voting by any manner other than a constitutional amendment. Absentee balloting was not affected by the ruling.

Last year, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. vetoed an early voting bill, arguing that it would open the state to election fraud. Supporters of the measure say it would encourage more people to vote.

A constitutional amendment requires the approval of three-fifths of both legislative chambers. The matter would then be put on the 2008 ballot for voters to approve or reject.

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