In 2020, elections will be held on three dates :
You must be registered to vote in order to vote in next year's elections. If you aren't sure if you are registered, or at what address, you can check your voter registration status online by visiting the voter services page of the State Board of Elections at https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch.
To be eligible to register, you must be:
You are ineligible to register if:
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In addition, Maryland has same-day voter registration during early voting and on Election Day. You can register to vote or change an existing voter registration during early voting (April 16 through April 23 for the presidential primary and special general election, October 22 through October 29 for the presidential general election) by going to an early voting center in the county where you live and bringing a document showing proof of residency. (Please note: there is no early voting for the special 7th District Congressional primary election.) You can give proof of residency by showing the election judge a Maryland driver's license or identification card with your current address or, if you don't have these documents or they don't show your current address, you can show the election judge a paycheck, bank statement, utility bill, or other official document with your name and new address.
If the election judge determines that you are a resident of the county and qualified to register, you will be given a voter authority card to sign, and then issued a regular ballot. In some cases, you may be issued a provisional ballot, but your ballot will be counted if you meet the requirements for voter registration under Maryland law.
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Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot. If you have a Maryland driver's license or MVA-issued ID card, you can request an absentee ballot application online from the State Board of Elections website. You can also download an application form or pick one up from your local board of elections office. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot depends on how you want to receive your blank ballot.
For the 2020 special primary election, your request must be received (not just mailed) by:
For the 2020 presidential primary election and special general election, your request must be received (not just mailed) by:
For the 2020 presidential general election, your request must be received (not just mailed) by:
You must mail or hand deliver your voted ballot. You cannot submit your voted ballot online, return it by email or fax, or take it to an early voting center or a polling place.
If you hand deliver your ballot, you must deliver it to your local board of elections by 8 pm on election day.
If you mail your ballot, the envelope must be postmarked on or before the special primary election day (February 4, 2020), the special general and presidential primary election day (April 28, 2020) or the presidential general election day (November 3, 2020). The mailed ballot must be received by your local board of elections by 10 a.m. on February 14, 2020 (for the special primary election), May 8, 2020 (for the special general and presidential primary elections) or November 13, 2020 (for the presidential general election).
For detailed instructions on how to complete and return an absentee ballot, go to the State Board of Elections website at http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/absentee.html.
On election days, vote at the polling place for your home address between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Anyone in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote. You can find the location of your polling place by checking the voter services page of the State Board of Elections: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch.
If you moved at least 3 weeks before the election, go to the polling place for your new address. Use the State Board of Elections voter look-up to find the polling place for your new address: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch. At your new polling place, you will vote a provisional ballot, but as long as you complete and sign the provisional ballot application, all of your votes will count. If you moved less than 3 weeks before the election, you may vote at the polling place for your old address or vote a provisional ballot at your new address.
On election days, voters will be given the choice to mark a pre-printed paper ballot by hand or to mark their ballots using an electronic ballot marking device.
Voters will mark the pre-printed paper ballots by hand at a voting booth. Voters will review their marked paper ballots and then insert them into a scanner that tabulates the voters' selections. The paper ballots then automatically drop into a secure ballot box.
An electronic ballot marking device will also be available at polling places on election days. These devices are available for all voters to use, and also contain accessibility features that let voters make selections using a keypad with Braille-embossed navigation buttons and an audio headset. The ballot marking device also enables voters to magnify text and change the contrast on the screen, and can be used with other assistive devices.
Usually, you will not be asked to show ID if your name is on the list of registered voters. However, you will be asked to show ID if:
If you do not have your ID with you, you may vote a provisional ballot and bring your ID to your local election board before 10 a.m. on February 12, 2020 (for the special primary election), May 6, 2020 (for the special general election and presidential primary election), and November 12, 2020 (for the presidential general election), so that your identity and eligibility can be verified in time to count your vote. Either way, the acceptable forms of identification are:
The election judges will offer a provisional ballot to a person who thinks they are an eligible voter but whose name is not listed in the voter registration database. Provisional ballots list the same choices as regular ballots and look the same. However, a provisional voter must complete the information on the provisional ballot envelope, put the ballot inside the envelope, and give it to the election judge for placement in the provisional ballot bag. Do not put a provisional ballot in a scanner at the polling place.
A provisional ballot will be counted if the local board of elections is able to verify that the provisional voter is registered and eligible to vote in Maryland. Provisional ballots are counted even if they will not change the outcome of an election. So if a person is eligible to vote, it makes no difference if the voter has voted a regular ballot or a provisional ballot—both will be counted.
The provisional ballot procedure is designed to make sure that no one is mistakenly turned away at the polls. You might be asked to vote on a provisional ballot for various reasons:
After the election, you can use the State Board of Elections voter look-up website to find out if your provisional ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why it was not counted. This information is ordinarily available ten days after election.
There are rules in place to protect the privacy of people's voting choices and preserve order in the polling place. There is a procedure for being designated an accredited “challenger and watcher." Accredited challengers and watchers may watch voters check in and may challenge a person's identity when they have a basis for doing that. Challengers and watchers are not allowed to talk to voters, read the voter registration list, go past the check-in table, take pictures of a voter's choices on a ballot, use electronic devices, wear campaign regalia, handle ballots or equipment, or move about in the polling place without an election judge's permission. For the rules on challengers and watchers and how to be designated, go to http://www.elections.state.md.us/get_involved/challenger_watcher.html. That page also has more information on the other election activities that accredited challengers and watchers may observe and the limits on the activities of a person who is not accredited but is there to challenge a voter's identity.
A person with a disability may bring someone to help as long as that person is not:
The person who assists the voter must sign the Voter Assistance Form and cannot suggest how the voter should vote.
For the rules on children, see question 12 below.
Voters may not stay in the polling place after they have voted. Although you may wear a campaign t-shirt or button when you vote, you may not linger and may not campaign or talk to other voters about the election while you are in the polling place. Also, you may not use cellphones and other electronic devices in the polling place.
You may bring election materials with you, including your sample ballot to the polling place. You may mark your choices on your sample ballot ahead of time so that you can vote quickly once you have checked in. Do not try to put a sample ballot in the scanner, and do not leave any election materials in the polling place.
For the rules of conduct in a polling place, go to http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/election_day_questions.html.
For an explanation of when you might need your ID, see question 7.
All early voting centers and most regular polling places are accessible to voters with disabilities. Check your sample ballot for the location of your polling place and see if it is described as an accessible polling location. You may also use the voter look-up website, https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/PollingPlaceSearch, to find that information. If your polling place is not accessible, there will be a list of the reasons why. This may help you decide if the polling place is accessible for you.
If your polling place is not accessible, you may vote at an early voting center during early voting, request an absentee ballot (see question 4), or complete a Request for Polling Place Change or Absentee Ballot through the State Board of Elections.
For more information on accessible voting methods, go to http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/accessibility.html.
You may bring one or two children under 18 years old with you to vote. The children may come with you as long as they do not disrupt or interfere with normal voting procedures. For the rules of conduct in a polling place, go to http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/election_day_questions.html.
Voters should report any issues (polling location, voter fraud, voter intimidation, etc.) to the
State Board of Elections at 1-800-222-8683.
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / En español 410-230-1712 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TTY: Dial 7-1-1 or 800-735-2258