(Nov. 2, 2018) Should voters be allowed to simultaneously register and cast their ballots on Election Day?
It’s a question on the ballot in Tuesday’s general election, asking voters whether they are for or against the constitutional amendment to “allow same-day registration and voting at the precinct polling place on Election Day.”
Several candidates running for local and state office gave their opinions about the ballot question during a forum last Wednesday evening at the American Legion in Ocean City.
District 38 Senate candidate Mary Beth Carozza said her concern with same-day registration was that it could allow for “possible abuse in the system.” Instead she said the measures currently in place that she said she deems sufficient.
“Right now, you can do same-day registration early voting,” Carozza said. “So I think that’s plenty of opportunity for voters to take advantage of that.”
One woman said the language could be subject to interpretation, and asked if the ballot question could contribute to voter fraud. Carozza said her question “underscores the need for voting against that ballot initiative.”
Another woman asked Carozza and her opponent, Sen. Jim Mathias about their thoughts on the ballot question. Mathias empathized with her “concern about our democracy and the integrity of your vote,” and underscored the role local election boards play.
“The integrity of the local election board — I mean they go ‘round the clock to make sure that the integrity of our voting policies are intact,” he said.
Mathias also said if he’s reelected he would push for legislation to ensure the “independent voter is now franchised.”
“I think our democracy, ladies and gentlemen, is so important,” Mathias said “Engagement is so important that we shouldn’t be excluding folks.”
In another part of the forum, District 1 candidate Joshua Nordstrom was asked what most surprises him when going door-to-door. His answer? People who say they’re not planning to vote.
Nordstrom added how close elections can be on the national, state and local levels. He urged people to head to the polls because “there is a chance that your vote may be the only one that matters, because you’re the one that might break the tie.”
How can voters be convinced? Nordstrom said it’s about the people running for office stepping up.
“So what we can do as candidates is make sure we give them someone to vote for,” Nordstrom said. “Show up at their door and talk to them, make them feel like their vote is important.”
Nordstrom also emphasized the lack of early voting stations in Worcester County, and stressed the need for same-day voter registration during early voting in all parts of the county.
“Do you know how many people are going to Berlin to vote early so they can register and vote that day? Not very many folks,” Nordstrom said.
Nordstrom reiterated his support for the initiative, but said it should be equal.
“Yes, it’s great that you can register and vote on the same-day,” Nordstrom said. “Let’s just make it for all communities and not just the ones that have early voting sites.”
District 3 candidate Zackery Tyndall said he agreed with Nordstrom’s call for countywide early voting.
“Josh Nordstrom brings up a great point that I think regardless of who you vote for, regardless of what happens, if you’re a Worcester County resident, there’s something that’s very important, and that’s putting a early voting area down south,” Tyndall said.