Who is eligible to vote in this year's general election?
Can I still register to vote for the November 8, 2016 general election?
Can I vote an absentee ballot?
Where can I vote during early voting (Oct. 27 to Nov. 3) and on Election Day (Nov. 8)?
When can I vote during early voting and on Election Day?
What is Maryland's new voting system for voting in person at an early voting center or at a polling place on Election Day?
Do I need to bring ID?
What's a provisional ballot, and why would I be asked to vote that way?
Other than voters and election officials, who may come inside a polling place, and what may they do?
What may I do in the polling place?
Are polling places accessible to disabled voters?
Are children allowed in the polling place?
You must be registered to vote in order to vote in this year's primary or general election. 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.
If you aren't yet registered you will not be able to vote in the June 26 primary election, because voter registration for the primary election has now closed. But you can still register and cast a ballot in the November 6 general election by registering to vote before October 16, 2018, or by going to an early voting center during early voting (October 25 through November 1). For details on how to register during early voting, see Question 2. To be eligible to register, you must be:
A U.S. citizen;
A Maryland resident; and
At least 16 years old. (Note: If you will not be 18 years old on November 8, 2018, you can register but you will not be able to vote in this year's general election).
You are ineligible to register if:
You have been convicted of buying or selling votes;
You were convicted of a felony and are currently serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment; or
You are under guardianship for mental disability and have been found by a court to be unable to communicate a desire to vote.
Voter registration for the November 6 general election closes on October 15. If you register to vote before October 15, you will be registered in time for the November 6 general election. In addition, Maryland has same-day voter registration during early voting but NOT on Election Day. You can register to vote or change an existing voter registration during early voting (October 25 thru November 1) by going to an early voting center in the county where you live and bringing a document showing proof of residency. 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.
Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot. If you have a Maryland driver's license or MVA-issued ID card, you can complete an absentee ballot application online from the State Board of Elections website. You can also download an application form and return the completed form to your local board of elections by mail, fax, or email (as an attachment). Or you can pick up an application at your local board of elections office.
The deadline for submitting an absentee ballot request depends on how you want the ballot delivered to you.
For the June 26 primary election, the deadlines for receiving an absentee ballot mailed to you, faxed to you, or made available to you via the State Board of Elections website have passed. You can request an absentee ballot in person at your local board of elections office up until 8:00 pm on June 26.
For the November 6 general election, if you want the ballot mailed or faxed to you, your application must be received by the local board of elections no later than October 30. If you wish to download your ballot from the State Board of Elections website, your application must be received no later than November 2. And finally, you can request an absentee ballot in person at your local board of elections office up unitl 8:00 pm on November 6.
A voted absentee ballot must be returned either by mail or hand delivery to the local board of elections office. If hand-delivered to the local board of elections office, your voted ballot must be returned by 8 p.m. on June 26 (for the primary election), and 8 p.m. on November 8 (for the general election). If mailed, the ballot envelope must be postmarked as mailed on or before June 26 (for the primary election) or November 6 (for the general election), and received by the local board by 10 a.m. on July 6 (for the primary election) or November 16 (for the general election). You may not return a voted absentee ballot to a polling place.
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 primary Election Day, June 26, vote at the polling place for your home address between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. 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 primary Election Day, June 26, polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone who is in line by 8 p.m. will be able to vote. To find the location of the polling place for your home address, go to the State Board's voter services page: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch.
On Election Day, voters will be given a pre-printed paper ballot. 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.
A ballot marking device will also be available at polling places on Election Day. These devices are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and 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. The device can also be used with other assistive devices. Voters who wish to use the ballot-marking device should advise an election judge when checking in to vote.
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:
You registered by mail and have not previously met the identification requirements.
Someone in the polling place challenges your identity.
You are registering to vote during early voting or changing your address during early voting.
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 July 6 so that your identity and eligibility can be verified in time to count your vote. Either way, the acceptable forms of identification are:
A Maryland Driver's License or other Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) issued identification
A student ID card that contains a photo
An employee ID card that contains a photo
A passport or other government issued ID,
OR, if you do not have those forms of ID:
a utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows your name and address and is less than 3 months old. If you are showing ID because you are voting for the first time, your name and address on the document must match the information on the voter registration roll.
The election judges will offer a provisional ballot to a person who thinks he or she is 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:
You are voting on Election Day and you are not listed as registered to vote.
You are voting on Election Day and you moved but did not update your address for voting.
The database shows that you received an absentee ballot for this election or already voted in this election. If you have not already voted, election officials will count your provisional ballot. Voting or trying to vote more than once is against the law. If you do this, election officials will refer you to law enforcement agencies for further investigation.
During early voting, you tried to register to vote or change your address, but your eligibility was not determined at that time. Your ballot will count if you meet all of the eligibility requirements. You have until 10 am on November 16 to prove where you live to your local board of elections. See Question 7 above for acceptable forms of proof.
You did not provide ID when asked. You need to show ID because you are voting for the first time in Maryland and did not previously meet the ID requirements. For your ballot to count, provide ID to your local board of elections before 10 am on July 6.
You did not provide your driver's license number or the last four digits of your social security number on your voter registration form or election officials could not verify the number you provided. To finish your registration, provide an ID number or an ID to your local board of elections before 10 am on July 6. Acceptable forms of ID are listed above.
Someone challenged your right to vote. If your local board of elections determines that you are the person you say you are, your provisional ballot will count. You may wish to contact your local board of elections and provide ID.
A court ordered polling places to stay open late, and you voted during this time. When a court issues an order like this, all voters who vote during the extra hours must vote by provisional ballot. As long as the court order is upheld, your provisional ballot will count.
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 voter's employer or an agent of the employer
An officer or agent of the voter's union
A challenger or watcher
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.
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 it is not, you may request an absentee ballot in person at your local board of elections by 8 pm on primary Election Day, June 26. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot to be delivered by other means, or to request a polling place change, have now passed.
For more information on accessible voting methods, go to:
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:
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