The state and Frederick County election boards are expected to respond today to a lawsuit alleging that noncitizens who are registered to vote could influence the Nov. 4 election.
It is “possible” that noncitizens are voting, said Mary Cramer Wagner, director of voter registration for the Maryland Board of Elections, because no verification system exists.
“There’s no database that I can or local boards can turn to and say, ‘Aha, Mary Cramer Wagner is not a legal citizen,’” she said.
The voters in question in the lawsuit were on Frederick County’s registered voter list; when called for jury duty, they were required to tell the county if they were U.S. citizens.
“They answered no and continued to vote,” said Cathy Kelleher, president of Election Integrity Maryland.
The lawsuit was filed by John Miller and Virginia Grant, of Frederick, and Kathy Troxell and Robert Bogley, of New Market, on Friday in U.S. District Court.
It was served on the attorney general’s office Tuesday, according to online court records.
The four residents state in the lawsuit that a comparison of voter rolls and juror qualification questionnaires show residents who told the courts they were not citizens but were nevertheless registered to vote.
The residents’ lawyer, Daniel M. Gray, declined to comment on the motivation behind filing the suit.
The state attorney general’s office entered its appearance on behalf of the state and Frederick County boards of election Wednesday afternoon.
Judge Ellen Lipton Hollander filed an order Tuesday afternoon seeking a response from the boards by 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Alan Brody, spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said the government has asked for an extension to file its response today.
Frederick County Board of Elections Director Stuart Harvey declined to comment Wednesday through Frederick lawyer Daniel Loftus.
Hollander has issued two orders in the case, noting the “time-sensitive” claims.
The second order allowed the plaintiffs to refile a document to seek an injunction before Election Day. The group wants the elections boards to remove the names of all noncitizens from the voter rolls before Tuesday.
According to Kelleher, noncitizen voters have been a persistent issue in Maryland.
“This is a problem that has been whispered in back rooms for years,” she said.
Election Integrity Maryland has not directly contacted any of the voters in question, citing an invasion of privacy.
“It’s up to the state board of elections to investigate,” Kelleher said.
Wagner said she is unsure how the board would verify voters’ citizenship status on its own.
“We don’t have any tool for investigative work,” she said.
Local boards, such as the Frederick County Board of Elections, process registration information, but the boards do not combine voter information and citizen information.
Follow Sylvia Carignan and Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @SylviaCarignan and @DanielleEGaines.