Video: Delegates debate voter ID, petition drive laws

Video: Delegates debate voter ID, petition drive laws

Listen to this article

In this video, Del. Jon Cardin, chairman of the election law subcommittee in the House, and Del. Kathy Afzali debate her bill on voter identification and his proposal on validating signatures in petition drives.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Susan

    I’m a staunch democrat and I’ll work my butt off to get Cardin out of office if this bill passes.  This bill with its notarization requirement is nothing more than another attempt to keep referenda out of Maryland.  The people have to have some control over decisions of their legislators. Referendum is that method of control.   This is nothing more than a total power grab to make sure that the will of the People is thwarted.

  2. jackie1

    I guess Cardin wasn’t aware that voter research showed in montgomery county only that 5000 deceased are on the voter roles and hasn’t even finished their research in montgomery or started in any other areas of the state.. I guess cardin isn’t aware that many people have several voter id #’s allowing them to vote several time’s over.. and will someone tell the democrats that Bush is gone and the worst idiot ever is now in charge?

  3. jackie1

    cardin is worse then the ole ben that nobody likes. If it wasn’t voter fraud in md none of the arses would be elected so why not stop anything and everything that interferes with their agenda to sock it to the citizens of md and cater to new americans.. Wtg Afzali

  4. Rpettingill

    Absolutely amazing that Cardin wants assurance on petition drive signatures yet won’t require positive identification re our most sacred democratic right in upholding ‘legitimatemacy’ in our election booths.  Whew….double standards personified.   

    • Susan

      “Double standard personified”…I don’t think so. Serious attempt to stop voters from being able to nix legislative action–absolutely!! Don’t know about the rest of the state, but in PG and Howard counties,the powers that be with their politician friends and friends in the judiciary, have been trying to effectively eliminate referendums and voter initiated charter changes for at least 20 years. Been there..done that, here we go again..just another attempt to get rid of direct democracy–this time, not county specific, instead statewide.

      Think about it.  Relative to the election of a candidate,  fraud is not an issue in attempts to place issues or charter changes on the ballot. There is no reason it should be since there is no significant personal benefit to any one person to allow voters to vote on a matter. Who knows how the voters are going to vote.  The US Supreme Court recognized this lack of incentive for fraud as early as the 1970’s  in an election law case in which it overturned a Massachusetts statute which prohibited corporations from contributing to referendum efforts. In subsequent cases, some very recent, this same court has time and again pointed out the lack of fraud in referendum and other direct democracy (initiative) cases.  Maybe Del. Cardin should read these cases……. and talk to local Boards of Election.  Case in point:  the Howard County Board of Elections, when asked several years ago whether there had ever been a case of signature fraud on a referendum petition, resoundingly answered “no,” at least not for the last 20 years that staff could remember.

      In 2008, Maryland’s highest court dealt a very serious blow to citizen attempts to put people and issues on the ballot and to make charter changes in the Doe decision.  The court essentially required a three way match on a signature on a petition with one’s name on his or her voter registration card, his or her signature on the petition and the name the individual printed on a referendum petition. When applied retroactively  to signatures that had been gathered and previously validated as part of a then recent referendum drive, the Doe requirements invalidated over 60% of the signatures that the Board had previously found to be signatures of registered Howard County voters.  These signatures were thrown out simply because the signature was illegible, people forgot to put in a middle or other initial or name, the signature was not identical to the printed name on the referendum petition, and the like.

      Clearly, there is a big problem with petition efforts in Maryland and the issue is not fraud!!!  The problem is that the General Assembly and the courts are doing everything they can to make sure that the petition drives will not be successful.  Cardin and his cohorts need to fix the problems caused by the Doe decision, not create more.  If, from the information a signor provides on a petition  (such as name, address, date of birth, etc.) the Board of Elections can determine with reasonable certainty that the signature is that from a registered voter, the signature should count.  Reasonably certainty was the test used for years.  Having one’s signature count on a petition cannot be dependent on the quality of one’s handwriting, one’s ability to remember what is on his or her voter registeration card or to follow directions.




Support Our Work!

We depend on your support. A generous gift in any amount helps us continue to bring you this service.