STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS

Prior to formation of the State Board of Elections, the Secretary of State in conjunction with local boards of election supervisors was responsible for the conduct of elections in Maryland.


[photo, 151 West St., Annapolis, Maryland] In 1969, the State Board of Elections was created by the General Assembly as the State Administrative Board of Election Laws (Chapter 555, Acts of 1969). Upon its creation, the Board assumed all powers and duties formerly vested in the Secretary of State with regards to elections. On January 1, 1999, the Board was renamed the State Board of Elections (Chapter 585, Acts of 1998).

The conduct of voter registration and elections in Maryland is supervised by the State Board of Elections, which directs, supports, monitors, and evaluates the activities of the local boards of elections in each county and Baltimore City. Each local board of elections is responsible for overseeing the conduct of all elections held within its jurisdiction (Code Election Law Article, secs. 2-201 through 2-305). In odd-numbered years, the Board meets with the boards of elections from the counties and Baltimore City to instruct them, their employees, and counsel on their duties in the conduct of elections.

The State Board of Elections prepares and certifies ballots, administers petitions, and publishes statewide ballot questions before elections.

151 West St., Annapolis, Maryland, October 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


To maximize the use of technology in election administration, the State Board of Elections oversees the upgrade and standardization of voting systems and election procedures statewide (Chapter 564, Acts of 2001). The Board also administers the voter registration-by-mail program.

The Board administers the Fair Election Practices Act to regulate the financing of campaigns for State and county offices, and govern the receipt and expenditure of funds for those election campaigns (Code Election Law Article, secs. 13-101 through 13-604). It also administers the Public Financing Act, which provides for public financing of the campaigns of eligible gubernatorial candidates who elect to use such funds (Code Election Law Article, secs. 15-101 through 15-114).

For election and registration records, campaign financial reports, and other election information, the State Board of Elections serves as a depository.

The State Board of Elections consists of five members appointed to four-year terms by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. Each member must belong to a principal political party with neither party having more than three or less than two members. Each member appointed by the Governor has been named by the state central committee of the principal political party entitled to the appointment (Chapter 4, Acts of 2005; Code Election Law Article, sec. 2-101).



STATE ADMINISTRATOR OF ELECTIONS

The State Administrator of Elections is the chief election official for the State. The Administrator oversees functions of the State Board of Elections, supervises the operations of local boards of elections, and receives and audits financial reports of candidates required under the Election Code (Code Election Law Article, secs. 13-401 through 13-404).

Appointed by the State Board of Elections with Senate advice and consent, the State Administrator also serves as Secretary to the Board of State Canvassers (Code Election Law Article, secs. 2-103, 11-501 through 11-503).


ADMINISTRATION

Assisting the State Administrator of Elections is the Deputy Administrator who oversees Administration.

Under Administration are Budget and Finance; Election Policy; Information Technology and Security; and Project Management. Also reporting directly to Administration are Candidacy and Campaign Finance, Human Resources, Information Security, Procurement and Contract Compliance, Records Management, and Special Projects.

CANDIDACY & CAMPAIGN FINANCE DIVISION
The Candidacy and Campaign Finance Division was initiated in 1990. Formerly under Election Policy, it later transferred to Administration.

The Division oversees the manner in which candidates and their organizations collect, spend, and report funds as regulated by Maryland's campaign finance laws.

Since 1999, all campaign finance reports must be submitted to the Division in electronic format (Chapter 473, Acts of 1999). The Division provides free electronic-filing software (ELECTrack) and technical assistance to campaign account treasurers. Data from campaign finance reports is compiled by the Division into a master database and made available on the Internet.

HUMAN RESOURCES
Human Resources began as the Personnel Services Division under Administration. In 2019, it was renamed Human Resources. By January 2022, it had transferred to the Finance Division, and in 2023 it moved back to Administration.

RECORDS MANAGEMENT
Since October 1, 2017, the State Board of Elections has had a program for the continual, economical and efficient management of its records. The Board's Records Officer develops and oversees the program, and serves as liaison to the Records Management Division of the Department of General Services, and to the State Archives (Chapter 539, Acts of 2017; Code State Government Article, secs. 10-608 through 10-611).


BUDGET & FINANCE

Under Administration, Budget and Finance originated as the Fiscal Management Division. It reformed as the Budget and Personnel Division in 2004, and reorganized as the Budget and Finance Division in May 2009. It was renamed the Finance Division by 2021, and reorganized as Finance and Budget Management, and Procurement by January 2022. Under its present name it reformed in 2023.


ELECTION POLICY

Formed in 2012, Election Policy oversees two divisions: Election Reform and Management; and Voter Registration and Petitions.

ELECTION REFORM & MANAGEMENT DIVISION
The Election Management Division organized in 1998. Functions of the Election Reform Division were merged with the Elections Management Division in February 2013 to form the Election Reform and Management Division.

The Division works to improve the election process for voters, upgrade voting systems, and prepare voting materials for both absentee and provisional ballots. To counties, it also provides election-related supplies, such as polling place signs and other items to make polling places accessible. In addition, the Division helps local boards of elections recruit and train election judges and pollworkers.

VOTER REGISTRATION AND PETITIONS DIVISION
Formerly the Voter Registration Division, the Voter Registration and Petitions Division organized in 2004. The Division supervises and coordinates the voter registration activities of local boards of elections, and the reporting of voter registration information from other state agencies. As required by the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, the Division developed an automated, centralized, interactive statewide voter registration database, which was implemented in 2006. The Division also conducts voter registration volunteer training, and periodically compiles and makes available voter registration statistics.

Submission of voter petitions for referenda, establishing new political parties, and nominating independent or third party candidates to the ballot, are overseen by the Division.


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & SECURITY

As the Computer Technology Division, Information Technology and Security began. It reformed as the Information Technology Division in 1999 and received its present name in 2006.

Information Technology and Security maintains a local area network for its headquarters operation, which includes servers that support election management, campaign finance reporting, and e-mail communications.

To the State Board of Elections and local boards of elections, Information Technology and Security provides technical support and expertise. It develops technology polices, provides network management, software upgrades, and website enhancements. It also monitors and revises security procedures for data back-up and storage, and protection from outside intrusion into electronic data centers. For local boards of elections, it conducts periodic security audits.

Under Information Technology and Security are two Divisions: Election Management Systems and Field Support, and Software Development.

ELECTION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS & FIELD SUPPORT DIVISION
In February 2013, the Election Management Systems and Field Support Division originated as the Field Support Division under Information Technology and Security. It merged with Election Management Systems to become the Election Management Systems and Field Support Division by January 2024.

The Division provides technical support for voting systems to State and local election officials in administering elections.

SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT DIVISION


PROJECT MANAGMENT

Formed in 2012.

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