Bills Would Require Voter ID, Increase Penalties for Voter Fraud

ANNAPOLIS, MD - A Maryland delegate wants to increase the penalties for people who vote fraudulently.

Delegate Kathy Afzali wants to make voter fraud a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

"It's part and parcel to fraud-free elections, especially after we had a huge fraud issue this year in the Maryland general elections when Wendy Rosen voted in two separate states for Obama twice," says Afzali, (R) - Frederick County.

Currently, people face up to a $2,500 fine for voter fraud. The bill would increase the fine up to $100,000 and up to five years in prison.

"What happens now in the State of Maryland is a slap on the wrist," Afzali says. "It's an 'Oh, please don't do that again,' but what I'd like to do is make it hurt."

Afzali's other bill would require Maryland election judges to verify a voter's identity and address. The voter would also have to show a government-issued photo ID.

"One fraudulent vote takes the vote away from a legitimate voter, and we don't want that in the State of Maryland," Afzali says. "We want everyone to know that their vote counts.

Voters have mixed opinions on the two bills.

"I think that's a fantastic idea. I don't know how anyone could vote for anything without showing proper ID," Jessica Raines says.

"I think it's silly. I think there's no evidence that there's any substantial voter fraud that goes on in Maryland," Barry Weller says.

"It would be a good idea to check IDs when voting and if the penalties increase for fraud, I think that would also be a positive," Jonathan Mathews says.

Afzali will introduce both bills in committee on February 21st. Delegate Kelly Schulz (R - Frederick County) is co-sponsoring the two bills.

You can read House Bill 325, which requires voter ID, by clicking here. You can read House Bill 324, which would increase the penalties for voter fraud, by clicking here.

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