From the 2008 News Archive
Professor Sherrilyn Ifill Presents Report on Voting Irregularities To Maryland Attorney General
University of Maryland School of Law Professor Sherrilyn Ifill
presented Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler with a report containing 13 recommendations for improving the voting process in Maryland in an April 29 gathering at the law school.
Attorney General Gansler had selected Professor Ifill to co-chair a Task Force on Voting Irregularities to examine election irregularities and obstacles to voting in recent elections and to make recommendations for policy changes. Since convening in May 2007, the Task Force public hearings across Maryland to hear first-hand from citizens about the problems they encountered when they attempted to cast their vote.
"There needs to be greater transparency and communication between local election boards and the state board," Professor Ifill said in a Baltimore Sun article
about the report, noting several instances in which polling places had too few machines, leading to long lines that caused some voters to leave.
calls for a process by which local election boards have to communicate in writing any disagreements with the state board. The report also calls for better means to educate voters on how to use the machines and on how provisional ballots are counted, as well as more extensive education outreach to felons, to whom the state returned the right to vote last year.
Professor Ifill said that the Task Force found that many of the issues brought to its attention will require long-term solutions and changes. However, given the urgency of the 2008 General Election, the Task Force decided to issue its report in two parts. The first report is limited to identifying and addressing problems that can be addressed in time for the General Election this year. Later this year, the Task Force will issue a second report describing some of the long-term solutions that should be taken up by legislative, administrative and executive officers in the State to improve the conduct of elections.
School of Law Professor Emeritus Chris Brown
also served on the Task Force.