Unconstitutional Hurlock voter ID proposal

The ACLU of Maryland joined with the Dorchester County Branch of the NAACP to urge the Hurlock Mayor and Council to vote down a proposed Charter Amendment that would require voters to present a State-issued photo identification to cast a ballot at the polls. The ACLU warned that the proposal was unconstitutional under Maryland law, and that it was also likely to result in discriminatory effects upon poor and minority voters.

 

The proposed amendment stated that Hurlock "voters shall produce a State of Maryland photographic identification as an additional requirement in order to vote in any Town election." The ACLU and the NAACP have long opposed such requirements because they erect barriers to voting by the poor and minorities. The groups also maintain that voter identification laws like the Hurlock proposal are neither necessary nor permissible under Maryland law. No voter identification requirement exists for federal, state, or local elections in Maryland, and yet there exists no documented evidence of individual voter fraud in any Maryland elections.

 

The right to vote in Maryland is explicitly established by the Maryland Constitution, and the Courts have ruled that no additional qualifications may be imposed by the government beyond the requirements of age, residency, and registration set out there:

 

Every citizen of the United States, of the age of 18 years or upwards, who is a resident of the State as of the time for the closing of registration next preceding the election, shall be entitled to vote in the ward or election district in which he resides at all elections to be held in this State.

 

Date filed: 2011-08-17County: Dorchester County

Status: Victory! Closed

Attorneys: Deborah Jeon, legal director of the ACLU of Maryland

Pro Bono Law Firm: