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Gov. O’Malley Proposes Expanding Early Voting

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Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– While Marylanders observe the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, state lawmakers are asked to expand on voting laws.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on a new proposal.

It’s a special day for Americans.

“Because it’s Martin Luther King Day,” said one girl.

The civil rights movement cleared the way for millions to exercise their right to vote.

“If you recall, there was a time you could not vote,” said Otis McNeill.

As McNeill and others watched the inaugural ceremony of Barack Obama on the day Americans honor civil rights hero Martin Luther King, the importance of voting hit home.

“And I’m glad that people are beginning to take more time to come out and vote because there was a time we just took the vote for granted,” said McNeill.

Now the O’Malley administration wants to give voters even more time by allowing Marylanders to register and vote on the same day on days designated for early voting.

“We would be proposing same-day voter registration. We will also be proposing an expansion of what has been a very popular and well-received early voting system in Maryland,” said O’Malley.

Kofi Kwaw supports early voting but thinks same-day registration is rushing things.

“I think it should be separate,” Kwaw said.

The Maryland Republican Party says the changes invite voter fraud and last year, a voter identification watchdog group reported thousands of questionable votes.

“Out of 11,000 challenges that we filed, 1,500 plus were of deceased voters that have been allowed to stay on the voter rolls,” said Kathy Kellerher, Election Integrity, MD.

The Board of Elections was investigating those challenges.

Meanwhile, voters seem willing to embrace additional options.

“People died so that you can get out and vote,” said Deborah Alexander.

The governor also proposes expanding the number of early voting days from six to eight and adding longer hours and more early voting sites in heavily populated jurisdictions.

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