MD Voter Registration Glitch Could Affect 80,000 Voters

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The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) today determined that additional individuals’ voter registration may be impacted by the recently reported programming error. This technical glitch impacted individuals updating their voter registration after completing a change of address transaction between April 22, 2017, until June 5, 2018, through MDOT MVA’s website or self-service kiosk without purchasing a driver’s license, identification card, vehicle registration, title or other item.

When it was confirmed on Friday that some individuals’ updated voter registration information had not been successfully transmitted from the MDOT MVA to the State Board of Elections, we immediately began working around the clock to identify the scope of the problem and get information out to impacted voters. In our sense of urgency to inform the public given the close proximity of the primary election, the numbers that were initially reported did not accurately reflect the total scope of the people impacted. Upon further review and analysis, we discovered that the initial data provided did not include all those impacted, and that the number of potentially impacted voters is approximately 80,000.

The State Board of Elections has sent nearly 74,000 email messages to all potentially impacted individuals who have email addresses on file with MDOT MVA encouraging them to contact the State Board of Elections to ensure their voter registration information is up to date and find their correct polling place.

No eligible voter will be denied the right to vote as a result of this programming error. Impacted voters should report to the polling place associated with their current address and vote using a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are counted in all Maryland elections.

The State Board of Elections has provided the following information to voters:
The new addresses and party affiliations could not be added to the lists of voters at each voting location.  The provisional voting process, however, is a simple way for an impacted voter to update his or her information, vote in the primary election, and have his or her ballot counted.   This process – in use since 2002 – has allowed thousands of voters to update an address, vote the correct ballot, and have that ballot count.  Our dedicated poll workers have been thoroughly trained on this process and will be ready to help any affected voter on election day.  No eligible voter will be denied the right to vote.

Because of a computer programming error, the voter registration record has not been updated with this new information.  Individuals voting in tomorrow’s election will have to vote a provisional ballot at the voting location where the voter lives. The provisional voting process will allow voters to update their information and vote a ballot.

Voters should:  visit the polling place locator and enter their address, contact the State Board of Elections at 1-800-222-8683 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or email info.SBE@maryland.gov or call their local election official.  For questions on election day, there will be trained poll workers to answer voter’s questions and guide them through the provisional voting process.

SBE and MVA worked together to identify the impacted voters and are providing this information to the local election officials.  Local election officials will use this information during their review of the provisional ballots and ensure that the provisional ballots cast by these voters are counted.  SBE will verify that the address and party changes are processed and monitor the processing of these provisional ballots.  SBE and MVA are also working closing together to correct the issue and ensure it does not happen again.