Due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, the information on this page is subject to change and will be updated as new information becomes available.
8/11/2020 - PLEASE NOTE: PURSUANT TO THE GOVERNOR'S AUGUST 10, 2020 EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION, ELECTION-DAY VOTING WILL TAKE PLACE AT VOTE CENTERS – SIMILAR TO THE KINDS OF VOTING LOCATIONS USED DURING EARLY VOTING – RATHER THAN AT PRECINCT-BASED POLLING PLACES.
Several elections have already taken place this year:
The next election will be November 3, 2020 – the presidential general election
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You must be registered to vote in order to vote in this 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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The current statutory voter registration deadline for the November 3, 2020, Presidential general election is October 13, 2020.
Maryland also has same-day voter registration during early voting and on election day for the presidential general election (November 3). You can register to vote on election day by bringing a document showing proof of residency with you to vote. You can register to vote or change an existing voter registration during early voting (currently October 22 through October 29, though these dates are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic) 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 mail. If you have a Maryland driver's license or MVA-issued ID card, you can request an absentee ballot or mail-in 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 or mail-in ballot depends on how you want to receive your blank ballot.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, every registered voter will be mailed a mail-in ballot application. The State Board of Elections expects to mail these applications to voters during the week of August 24, 2020 to August 31, 2020. You may also request a mail-in ballot through the State Board of Elections' website (https://elections.maryland.gov/voting/absentee.html) at any time. In order to receive your ballot by mail (or to print your ballot from the state's website) you must complete this application and deliver it to your local board of elections. Your request must be received (not just mailed) by Tuesday, October 20, 2020. Finally, you may also request a mail-in ballot application in person at your local board of elections office no later than 8 pm on election day, November 3, 2020.
You must mail your voted ballot to your local board of elections office, or hand deliver your voted ballot to your local board of elections office, an early voting center, or an election-day voting center. In addition, the State Board of Elections expects to deploy ballot drop-off boxes for the general election.
If you hand deliver your ballot, you must deliver it to your local board of elections, a voting center, or a ballot drop-off box by 8 pm on election day, November 3, 2020.
If you mail your ballot, the envelope must be postmarked on or before election day, November 3, 2020. The mailed ballot must be received by your local board of elections by 10 a.m. on November 13, 2020.
For detailed instructions on how to complete and return an absentee or mail-in ballot, go to the State Board of Elections website at http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/absentee.html.
As an initial matter, all voters who are able are strongly encouraged to apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot and vote by mail. See Question 4 above for information on mail-in voting.
If you wish to vote in-person, you may vote at any of the early voting centers in your county between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. from October 22, 2020, through October 29, 2020, although due to COVID-19 these specific dates and times may be subject to change. Please check back here for updated information as election day approaches.
If you wish to vote in-person on election day (November 3, 2020), you may vote at any of the election-day voting centers in your county between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. These election-day voting centers will include the early voting centers previously used during early voting, as well as such additional voting centers designated by the local boards of election and approved by the State Board of Elections. Please check back here for more information on the election-day voting centers that will be used for the November 3, 2020 election. When the information is available, you will be able to find the location of election-day voting centers by checking the voter services page of the State Board ofElections: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch.
Voters who appear in person to vote on election day 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. The ballot marking device will print your ballot, which you must then insert into a separate scanner that tabulates the voters' selections. Please review your printed ballot to ensure that the selections indicated on the ballot are the ones you intended to choose.
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 for the presidential general election and bring your ID to your local election board before 10 a.m. on November 12, 2020, 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. Therefore, 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 the 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. Please note that, due to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, there may be additional restrictions or rules for the participation of challengers and watchers at polling places on election day in order to minimize the number of persons congregating in the same confined space. Please contact your local board of elections for more details about how challengers and watchers may be involved on election day.
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.
In addition, due to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, local boards of elections may implement procedures to ensure that social distancing practices are observed by all participants in the election process. Please follow these procedures to protect yourself and your fellow citizens.
For an explanation of when you might need your ID, see question 7.
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All early voting centers and most regular polling places are accessible to voters with disabilities. For the November 3, 2020, presidential general election, 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. However, due to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, please minimize the number of persons you bring with you to vote if possible. 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