While the experience was a model of efficiency as far as wait time and overall excellence of service were concerned, I was put off by the fact that the clerk brought my voter registration information up on a screen and asked me if I wanted to switch my party affiliation.
I informally sampled my friends on Facebook, and found that those who were registered Republican were more likely to report having the same experience than Democrats.
Anyway, Stuart Harvey, Director of the Frederick County Board of Elections, was kind enough to drop me a note responding to my article. In his message to me, he stated:
“I passed it on to the State Board of Elections, who will be discussing the behavior you experienced with their MVA contact. There is now a statewide online voter registration system that integrates with the MVA – but that question about “changing party affiliation” is not part of any training MVA staff were given in using the system, as I understand it.”
He also promised to let me know what the Maryland State Board of Elections has to say about this situation. I will report back on what comes of this here.
In the meantime, if you have had experiences similar to mine at the MVA regarding changing your voter registration, please share them with me. I may report them here but absolutely won’t do so without permission.
These are the kinds of creeping encroachments of authority that can occur when an entrenched majority party holds power permanently. Only by publicizing such incidents can we hope to force reform.