By Steve Pressman
Because of COVID-19 and all of the upheaval it has caused, there have been many updates and changes to how you can vote in Maryland continue. This blog has been updated to include the most recent developments:
- Don’t wait! The most important thing you can do is apply NOW for a ballot and indicate you want it mailed to you. If the ballot is emailed to you, you’ll have to print it, and that self-printed ballot will not be readable by the Board of Elections’ scanners. BoE elections workers would then have to review it and transcribe it, which could cause error or delay in your ballot being counted.
- Ballots will mailed to you once they become available–around Sep. 24.
- If you don’t request your ballot now, you have until Oct. 20 to return your application for a ballot. The Board of Elections moved the deadline up one week, from Oct. 27, in response to the U.S. Postal Service’s warning that it couldn’t guarantee all ballots cast by mail would arrive in time to be counted. This is because the Postmaster General is trying to sabotage the USPS.
- After you complete your mail-in ballot, we recommend that you not mail it, but rather deposit it in a secure drop box. Maryland plans to have many of these across the state. Locations have not been released yet.
- You can also hand deliver your ballot to one of the Early Voting Centers Oct. 26-Nov. 2 or the Board of Elections office before 8pm on Nov. 3.
- Ballots must be postmarked on or before election day Nov. 3, but are “timely” as long as they are received by Nov. 13.
- Check the status of your application for a ballot and your voter registration here.
- Early voting will run from Oct. 26 through Nov. 2 from 7am to 8pm each day. This is a change from the previously scheduled early voting period. Early voting locations in Montgomery County can be found here (scroll down and select “Early Voting”)
Election Day voting
- On election day, the state plans to have 350 voting centers open. Gov. Hogan reluctantly agreed to the Board’s plan to use larger voting centers at high schools rather than the usual 1,800 local polling sites. All early voting locations and all of Montgomery County’s high schools will be voting centers for the 2020 election.
- You will be able to vote at any election center during this election.
- The voting centers should also help avoid long lines because people can vote at any center in their county. Hogan’s plan would have required you to vote where you’re assigned and prevented you from picking the least crowded location.