Maryland 20-20 Watch
Maryland's "Premier Independent Election Integrity Organization"
Can you see the lie?
Call to Action
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election integrity concerns
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Anjali Reed Phukan - former candidate for MD Comptroller
TO THE MEMBERS OF:
Members of the Maryland General Assembly
It came to our attention a few years ago that Election voting information, documents and data is only retained for a maximum of 24 months and then destroyed at the discretion or direction of the State Board Administrator. Accordingly, Maryland Election Law 2-106 describes "Records Management" (in general) that "The State Board and each local board shall maintain and dispose of its public records in accordance with the program for records management adopted by the State Board under Title 10, Subtitle 6, Part IV of the State Government Article". (More times than you may be aware of the information most crucial to any review or legal challenge is destroyed first over other records and files of a more mundane nature).
Further, MD Election Law 2-106 describes the "Powers & Duties of the State Board of Elections, That the Board "shall.....ensure compliance with the requirements of this article". Among them, (9) "make available to the general public....information gathered and maintained regarding elections"; and that the Board is to "serve as a depository for elections documents, materials, records, statistics, reports, certificates, proclamations, and other information by law or regulation." (Note this article was last "amended" effective December 1, 2011....indicating the process allows for changing it when the Legislature deems necessary or appropriate).
Additionally, there are other Md Election Law articles which address the subject of this letter as well. For example Md EL Law 3-505 focuses on "retention and storage of" specific records like "original voters registration applications" and that they are "open to public inspection.....at all times when a local board is open"; but "may not be removed from the office except on order of the court; or for temporary removal solely for the purposes of data processing". (AND 3-506 according to 62 Op. Att'y Gen. 396 (1977), the general public is entitled to inspect and copy registration records as the wish).
In our opinion, laws are funny, particularly when they are sometimes "vague or ambiguous" they must lean to the benefit of the people rather than government. Legislatures have the power to change law and/or clarify law but the public does not. And so, we must insist that you, the members of the Maryland General Assembly "amend" our state's election laws to accommodate a candidate's challenge of election results and any voter's inquiry by preserving ALL related election material beyond the 24 month limit. Most cases filed with the State Judiciary often are dragged out beyond the 24 month deadline for destruction of records. The public is entitled to free access under the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA/PIA) and as these cases evolve more times than not after the back and forth between agencies, the courts, the Office of the Public Access Ombudsman, the records requested are no longer available. We request that the law require that any information that has a remote relationship to any related filed case or documented investigative review of our elections that those documents and records MUST BE preserved until the conclusion of the action.
I am sure the members of our State Legislature have the ability to make this subtle non-partisan adjustment to the current regulations that will send the message to the voters of our state that you are fully engaged and support regaining the public's trust of our electoral process; after all, the primary duty and responsibility of the State Board of Elections is "that the conduct of elections should inspire public confidence and trust" (Md EL 1-201 Purpose) And that should include what happens after results are made public and all controversies are settled.
Should you need any help crafting the language to STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF ELECTION EVIDENCE, we are at your service.
Yours very truly,
Lewis Porter -
Maryland 20-20 Watch
William Newton -
Associate Research Investigator
MARYLAND ELECTION LAW
§ 1-201. Statement of purpose.The intention of this article is that the conduct of elections should inspire public confidence and trust by assuring that:
(1) all persons served by the election system are treated fairly and equitably;
(2) all qualified persons may register and vote and that those who are not qualified do not vote;
(3) those who administer elections are well-trained, that they serve both those who vote and those who seek votes, and that they put the public interest ahead of partisan interests;
(4) full information on elections is provided to the public, including disclosure of campaign receipts and expenditures;
(5) citizen convenience is emphasized in all aspects of the election process;
(6) security and integrity are maintained in the casting of ballots, canvass of votes, and reporting of election results;
(7) the prevention of fraud and corruption is diligently pursued; and
(8) any offenses that occur are prosecuted.
Mass Vote Fraud
Plagues Multiple States
Mail-in ballots are a highly fraud-prone method of voting as seen in several states in November.
Multiple methods of vote fraud were documented across several states. Similar vote irregularities have been found in Maryland.
Board of Elections'
Lack of Accountability
Endangers Election Integrity
Public Information Act Requests
Routinely go unanswered.
Meaningful public oversight of election processes are routinely denied during elections and during canvassing.
Details Coming Soon!