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Election Administration in Maryland

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Election Types and Dates

Election Dates

Upcoming Primary Elections

The primary election for federal offices, including President, is April 26, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

http://www.projectvote.org [link]

Upcoming General Elections

The general election for federal offices, including President, is November 8, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

http://www.projectvote.org [link]

How is a nominee determined?

How is a nominee determined (caucus, primary, convention)?

Primaries.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 5-701 [link]

Political Party Affiliation

Can voters register by party in the state?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-202 [link]

Must voters be registered with a political party if they would like to vote on that party’s candidates in a partisan primary election (i.e., are primaries open or closed)?

Typically, primaries are closed and people must be affiliated with the political party whose primary ballot they wish to vote. However, political parties can choose to open their primaries to voters who are not affiliated with their party. To do so, the chair of the political party's state central committee must notify the State Board of Elections of its decision at least 6 months before the primary election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 8-202(c) [link]

When can a voter change or switch their party affiliation?

A voter can change their political party affiliation up until the voter registration deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-303(c) [link]

Voter Registration

Who Can Vote?

What are the state's residency requirements for voters?

To register to vote, a person must live in Maryland on the day they submit their voter registration application.

Maryland law does not specifically address how people without a traditional residence address, such as people experiencing homelessness, should describe their location on their voter registration application. Such people should ask for details from their County Board of Elections or the State Board of Elections using the phone numbers listed on the back of the application.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Maryland Voter Registration Application (English) [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-102(a)(1) [link]

Maryland Voter Registration Application (Spanish) [link]

Can someone pre-register to vote if they will not be 18 years old by the next election? If so, who?

Yes, a person may register to vote if they are at least 16 years old.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-102(a)(1) [link]

Can 17-year-olds who will be 18-year-olds by the general election vote in the primary?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-102(a)(2) [link]

Does the state take away the right to vote from persons convicted of certain crimes? If so, what crimes?

Yes; any person convicted of a felony, or of buying or selling votes, loses the right to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-102(a)(2) [link]

If people lose the right to vote because of a criminal conviction, can they regain the right to vote? How?

Yes; a person convicted of a felony automatically regains the right to vote when they are released from prison. The person must re-register to vote upon release.

However, a person convicted of buying or selling votes permanently loses the right to vote in Maryland.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-102(a)(2) [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.05.06.05(C)(5) [link]

Voter Registration Options

Is fully online voter registration available? (i.e., can voters fill in and submit an online application without printing and signing it?)

Yes, but any person registering online must have a Social Security Number. Furthermore, unless the person is registering as a military or overseas voter, the person must also have a Maryland driver's license or a state ID card to register online. Click here to access the online voter registration application.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Maryland Online Voter Registration Application [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-204.1 [link]

Does the state accept the National Mail Registration Form?

Yes. Click here to download the form.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

National Mail Voter Registration Form [link]

Is the state required to register voters at public assistance agencies and driver's license agencies, per the National Voter Registration Act of 1993?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

U.S. Department of Justice website [link]

Student-Specific Rules

Does the state have specific rules on students registering to vote or voting?

A student may register at the address where they live while attending school if they consider that address to be their permanent home and do not intend to return to the address where they lived before attending school. Otherwise, a student must register at their permanent address, which is typically the address they lived at before attending school.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. State Bd. of Elections Website: Students [link]

Voter Registration Deadlines

When is the voter registration deadline?

22 days before Election Day, except that people may also register to vote in person at early voting locations during the early voting period, which lasts from from the second Thursday before Election Day through the Thursday immediately before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-302(a) [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-305 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-301.1 [link]

How is the deadline enforced for mailed applications?

Postmark - a mailed application must be postmarked by the voter registration deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-302(c) [link]

How is the deadline enforced for online applications?

The application must by received by the voter registration deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-302(a) [link]

Voter Registration Drives

Does the state require organizations conducting voter registration drives to register?

No.

Are there restrictions on getting voter registration forms?

Yes. Voter registration application (VRA) distributors) who receive state training must be given registration forms in sufficient numbers to meet their needs. VRA distributors who do not present a certification of instruction may only receive 25 state applications per day. In addition, the State Administrator or an election director may limit the number of Statewide VRAs if the State Administrator or election director does not have a sufficient number of Statewide VRAs to accommodate the request and still have a sufficient supply of Statewide VRAs for official office business, or the official determines that the individual is not following all of the requirements of the regulation regarding VRA distributors.

A VRA distributor is an individual who conducts the following voter registration activities:

  • Offering Statewide VRAs to individuals interested in registering to vote or updating an existing registration;
  • Assisting people with filling out Statewide VRAs; and
  • Returning completed Statewide VRAs to the appropriate local board office.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Md. Code Regs. §§ 33.05.03.06(A), (G) [link]

Does the state require any training in order to conduct voter registration drives?

Yes, if the person is a voter registration application (VRA) Distributor who wants to obtain more than 25 VRAs per day. To obtain more than 25 applications per day, the VRA Distributor must present a Certificate of Instruction indicating attendance at a training session. Election officials must make the training available in accordance with a fixed schedule publicized in advance, or upon request, and may not discontinue training within the period 70 days prior to an election through one week before the registration deadline. Election officials must treat individuals and groups of VRA distributors seeking instruction fairly and equitably and afford equal access to instruction.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Md. Code Regs. §§ 33.05.03.06(A), (D), (G)(1)(b) [link]

Does the state have restrictions on who may help others register to vote?

Yes, VRA distributors must be at least 18 years old on or before the next general election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Md. Code Regs. §§ 33.05.03.06(A)-(B) [link]

Does the state have restrictions on paying drive workers, or additional rules related to payment?

Yes; canvassers may not receive any form of compensation, including bonuses, that is based on the number of voter registration applications collected.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-205(3) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.05.03.06(H) [link]

Are there restrictions on the voter registration drive offering something of value to a person in exchange for completing a voter registration application?

Federal law states that whoever ""pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years."" At least one federal appellate court has interpreted ""payment"" as ""intended to include forms of pecuniary value offered or given directly to an individual voter, and indicated the value should be based on ""an assessment of the monetary worth of an item from the perspective of the voter receiving the item."" That case held that food vouchers could be ""payment.""

Another example is California's Secretary of State's interpretation of the federal law to mean that ""Any type of incentive is considered 'payment,' even things as seemingly innocent as cookies or admission to an entertainment event.""

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

United States v. Garcia, 719 F.2d 99, 102-103 (5th Cir. 1983) [link]

52 U.S.C. § 10307(c) [link]

California Secretary of State's Guide to Voter Registration Drives, p. 11 [link]

Must the registration drive worker sign the completed voter registration application, and must the drive or canvasser place other information on applications?

If the applicant is unable to sign his or her name on the application, the individual who assisted the applicant in filling out the form must sign a statement on a separate document that the applicant states that the applicant is unable to sign his or her name, the applicant meets all of the qualifications to become a registered voter in Maryland, and the information supplied about the applicant is true.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.05.04.04 [link]

Does the state have a rule requiring a receipt or other tracking information to be provided to the applicant?

No; however, a voter registration application (VRA) distributor must advise each applicant that the applicant may either personally return the VRA to the appropriate local board office or permit the individual performing the voter registration activities to return the completed VRA to the local board.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.05.03.06(F)(1) [link]

Are there restrictions on copying completed voter registration applications prior to submitting them to the election official, or other restrictions on data entry or disclosure?

Yes. An applicant’s driver’s license number, state ID number, Social Security number, and other information from a voter registration application that is protected from public disclosure may not be copied or collected.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-205 [link]

Is there a time limit for voter registration groups to submit the voter registration applications they collect?

Yes; completed voter registration applications must be submitted to the appropriate local county election board within 5 days of receipt or by the next voter registration deadline, whichever comes first.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.05.03.06(F)(2) [link]

What are the consequences for failing to submit applications on time?

Maryland law does not specify any consequences for failing to return applications on time.

Same-Day Registration

Can voters register and vote on the same day (i.e., does the state offer same-day registration)?

No, but person can register to vote and vote on the same day at an early voting location during the early voting period, which lasts from the second Thursday before Election Day through the Thursday immediately before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-305 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-301.1 [link]

Voters Who Have Moved or Changed Their Name

Can people vote if they moved, but did not update their voter registration with their new address?

Yes; so long as they were registered to vote in Maryland beforehand, these voters may cast a provisional ballot. If the voter casts the provisional ballot at the polling place assigned to their new address, then the entire provisional ballot will be counted. However, if the voter casts the provisional ballot at a different polling place (such as their old polling place), the provisional ballot will be counted only for those races and ballot questions on which the voter is eligible to vote, based on the voter's current address.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 11-303(e) [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-404(b)(2)(i) [link]

Can people vote if they have changed their name, but did not update their voter registration with their new name?

Yes, they may vote by regular ballot using their old name, or they may vote by provisional ballot using their new name.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 11-303(e) [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-404(b)(2)(i) [link]

Language, Literacy, and Disability Access

Language and Literacy Access

Does the state have any places that must provide election materials in languages other than English, per Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

Yes, Montgomery County must provide election materials in Spanish.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Voting Rights Act Amendments of 2006, Determinations Under Section 203, 76 Fed. Reg. 63602 (Oct. 13, 2011) [link]

Who can help a voter with reading assistance or translation if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to vote due to inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Similarly, under state law, a voter who is unable to read or write and is casting a regular ballot on Election Day can be assisted by any person of the voter's choice other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union. If a voter is assisted by an election judge, the judge must assist the voter in the presence of another election judge who is a member of a different political party. In addition, if the voter is casting a provisional ballot or an absentee ballot, the voter cannot be assisted by a candidate who is on the ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-308 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-406 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-310(c) [link]

Disability Access

Who can help a voter with a disability if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to vote due to a disability may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Similarly, under state law, a voter who has a physical disability and is casting a regular ballot on Election Day can be assisted by any person of the voter's choice other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union. If a voter is assisted by an election judge, the judge must assist the voter in the presence of another election judge who is a member of a different political party. In addition, if the voter is casting a provisional ballot or an absentee ballot, the voter cannot be assisted by a candidate who is on the ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-308 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-406 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-310(c) [link]

Does the state have other rules related to access for persons with disabilities?

If a voter with a disability or who is elderly is assigned to a polling place that has structural barriers, the voter may request they be reassigned to a different polling place.

In addition, a person loses the right to vote if they are under guardianship for a mental disability and a court of competent jurisdiction has specifically found by clear and convincing evidence that the person cannot communicate, with or without accommodations, a desire to participate in the voting process. However, a person does not lose the right to vote because they are a resident in a mental health facility or have a developmental disability.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-102 [link]

Md. Code, Health--General § 7-1004 [link]

Md. Code, Health--General § 10-704 [link]

Early Voting, Absentee Voting, and Other Ways to Vote

Vote-by-Mail

Does the state provide mail ballots to all voters without a request?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-305 [link]

Early Voting/Absentee In-Person Voting

Does the state have early voting/absentee in-person voting?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-301.1 [link]

Where does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

Voters can vote at any early voting location in the county where they live. A list of early voting locations in each county can be viewed by clicking here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

2016 Early Voting Sites [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-301.1 [link]

When does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

Early voting takes place from the second Thursday before Election Day through the Thursday immediately before Election Day. Early voting locations must be be open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. each early voting day, except for a presidential general election, when early voting locations must be open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. each early voting day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-301.1(d) [link]

What official chooses early voting/absentee in-person voting locations?

The State Board of Elections, in collaboration with each county's local board of elections, chooses the early voting locations.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-301.1 [link]

Are lists of early voters/absentee in-person voters published? How?

Lists of early voters may be requested from the State Board of Elections using the request form located here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-506 [link]

Application for Voter Registration Data [link]

Absentee Voting by Mail

Can anyone vote absentee by mail without an excuse? If not, what excuses allow a voter to vote absentee by mail?

Yes, anyone may vote absentee by mail without an excuse.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-304 [link]

Deadline to apply for absentee ballot by mail

Different deadlines apply depending on how the voter submits their absentee ballot application and how they request that their absentee ballot be sent to them.

If a voter submits their absentee ballot application by mail, the following deadlines apply:

  • If the voter requests they receive their absentee ballot by mail or fax, the application must be received by 8:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before Election Day.
  • If the voter requests they receive their absentee ballot over the internet, the application must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day.

If the voter submits their absentee ballot application by fax, e-mail, or Maryland's Online Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request System, the following deadlines apply:

  • If the voter requests they receive their absentee ballot by mail or fax, the application must be received by 11:59 p.m. on the Tuesday before Election Day.
  • If the voter requests they receive their absentee ballot over the internet, the application must be received by 11:59 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day.

If the voter, or the voter's authorized agent, submits their absentee ballot application in person at the local board of election's office, the application must be received by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

A person or organization receiving a completed absentee ballot application from a voter must submit the application to the appropriate local board within 2 business days of receiving the application or by the appropriate deadline described above, whichever comes first.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.01.01(B)(3) [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.01 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-305(b) [link]

How does a voter apply for an absentee mail ballot?

A voter may apply for an absentee ballot in any of the following ways:

  • Using Maryland's Online Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request system. To use this system, the voter must have a Social Security Number and either a Maryland driver's license or state ID card, except the voter needs only to have a Social Security Number if they are a military or overseas voter. Click here to access the system.
  • By completing a paper version of the official absentee ballot application and submitting it to the local board of elections by mail, by e-mail, by fax, or in person. The application can be downloaded here in English and here in Spanish. The application is also available in each local board of elections' office, and a local board will send an application to a voter by mail, fax, or electronically upon the voter's request.
  • By submitting an informal written request for an absentee ballot to the local board of elections by mail, by e-mail (with the voter's signature), or in person. The request must include the voter's name, home address, phone number, birthdate, signature, and address they would like the absentee ballot mailed to if different from the voter's home address.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.04 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.03 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.01.01(B)(3) [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.01 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.02 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-305(a), (c) [link]

Can a voter make an online request for an absentee mail ballot?

Yes. Any voter can submit by e-mail either (1) a completed and signed paper version of the official absentee ballot application, or (2) an informal written request for an absentee ballot. Additionally, the following voters may submit an absentee ballot application using Maryland's Online Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request System:

  • Any voter who has a Social Security Number and either a Maryland driver's license or state ID card; or
  • A military and overseas voter who has a Social Security Number, even if they do not have a Maryland driver's license or state ID card.

Click here to access the system.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.03 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.01.01(B)(3) [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.02 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-305(a), (c) [link]

Does a voter need to submit any supporting documentation or verification with an absentee mail ballot or absentee mail ballot application? If so, what is required?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-305 [link]

Are there restrictions on who may request or turn in an absentee mail ballot application for a voter?

A voter may designate any person who is at least 18 years old and is not a candidate on the ballot as their ""authorized agent."" An authorized agent may submit an absentee ballot application on the voter's behalf, deliver the voter a blank absentee ballot, and return the voter's completed absentee ballot. The voter must designate the authorized agent in writing under penalty of perjury, and the authorized agent must show the local board of elections this piece of writing before the board will give the authorized agent a blank absentee ballot. This written authorization can take the form of a letter written by the voter, or upon request, the local board of elections has authorization forms available.

Additionally, whenever a person or organization receives a completed absentee ballot application from a voter, the person or organization must submit the application to the appropriate local board of elections within 2 business days or by the absentee ballot application deadline, whichever comes first.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-305(b)(3) [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.04 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.01(E) [link]

Deadline to return absentee ballots

An absentee ballot must either (1) received by the local board of elections by the time the polls close on Election Day, or (2) postmarked no later than Election Day and received by the local board no later than 10:00 a.m. on the second Friday after Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.04 [link]

Are there restrictions on who may return a voter's absentee mail ballot for them?

A voter may designate any person who is at least 18 years old and is not a candidate on the ballot as their ""authorized agent."" An authorized agent may submit an absentee ballot application on the voter's behalf, deliver a blank absentee ballot to the voter, and return the voter's completed absentee ballot to the local board of election's office. The voter must designate the authorized agent in writing under penalty of perjury, and the authorized agent must show the local board of elections this piece of writing before the board will give the authorized agent a blank absentee ballot. This written authorization can take the form of a letter written by the voter, or upon request, the local board of elections has authorization forms available.

When returning a voter's completed absentee ballot to the local board's office, an authorized agent must also sign an affidavit affirming, under penalty of perjury, that (1) the absentee ballot was delivered to the voter who submitted the absentee ballot application, (2) the voter (or their assistant, if they have a disability or cannor read or write) marked and placed the ballot in an envelope in the agent's presence, and (3) the authorized agent is returning that ballot to the local board.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.04 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-307 [link]

Are there any special emergency rules that allow a voter to vote absentee by mail if they are unable to make it to the polls at the last minute?

Any voter, personally or through their authorized agent, can apply for and receive an absentee ballot in person at the local board of elections office until the polls close on Election Day. The ballot will be counted so long as it received by the deadline to return absentee ballots.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-305(b)(3) [link]

Are lists of people who vote absentee by mail published? How?

Lists of absentee voters may be requested from the State Board of Elections using the request form located here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 3-506 [link]

Application for Voter Registration Data [link]

Presidential-only ballots

Under federal law, any registered voter who moves out of the state after the 30th day before a Presidential election may vote for President and Vice President either in person at the voter’s previous state of residence or using an absentee ballot from the voter’s previous state of residence.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

52 U.S.C. § 10502(e) [link]

Absentee Voting for Military and Overseas Voters

Who is eligible for military/overseas absentee voting?

The following Maryland voters qualify as military voters if their service causes them to be away from their home county on Election Day:

  • Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard *Members of the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Members of the Merchant Marine
  • A spouse or dependent of one of the above members who is accompanying the member outside of their home county on Election Day

The following voters qualify as overseas voters:

  • A military voter who will be outside of the United States on Election Day
  • A person who lives outside the United States and is qualified to vote in Maryland, which was the last place in which the person lived before leaving the United States; or
  • A person who lives outside the United States and (but for their residence) would be qualified to vote in Maryland, which was the last place in which the person live before leaving the United States.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

52 U.S.C. § 20310 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.01.01 [link]

How do voters apply for a military/overseas ballot?

A military/overseas voter can apply for an absentee ballot using the regular absentee ballot application process (see previous section on Absentee Voting by Mail for details), by using a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA), or by using a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-305(a)(2) [link]

Deadline to apply for a military/overseas ballot

A voter may apply for an absentee ballot in any of the following ways:

  • Using Maryland's Online Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request system. To use this system, military and overseas voters need to have a Social Security Number, but they do not need to have a Maryland driver's license or state ID card. Click here to access the system.
  • By completing a paper version of the official absentee ballot application and submitting it to the local board of elections by mail, by e-mail, by fax, or in person. The application can be downloaded here in English and here in Spanish. The application is also available in each local board of elections' office, and a local board will send an application to a voter by mail, fax, or electronically upon the voter's request.
  • By submitting an informal written request for an absentee ballot to the local board of elections by mail, by e-mail (with the voter's signature), or in person. The request must include the voter's name, home address, phone number, birthdate, signature, and address they would like the absentee ballot mailed to if different from the voter's home address.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.04 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.03 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.01.01(B)(3) [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.01 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.02 [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-305(a), (c) [link]

Deadline to return the military/overseas ballot

An absentee ballot must either (1) received by the local board of elections by the time the polls close on Election Day, or (2) postmarked no later than Election Day and received by the local board no later than 10:00 a.m. on the second Friday after Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.02.04 [link]

Who is eligible to use a write-in absentee ballot? How does it work?

Any military or overseas voter can use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to cast votes for federal, state, and local offices and ballot questions.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. 33.11.05.07 [link]

Md. State Bd. of Elections Website: Military and Overseas Voting [link]

On Election Day

Where do you vote in person?

Where do you vote in person?

At the polling place assigned to the voter's precinct.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-101 [link]

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. A person waiting in line to vote at 8:00 p.m. must be allowed to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-301 [link]

In the Voting Booth

Can a voter bring children into the voting booth with them?

Yes, a voter may bring up to 2 children into the voting booth, so long as the children are younger than 18 years old and are not eligible to vote in the election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-308 [link]

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

Yes; if an employee does not already have two continuous hours off of work during the time the polls are open on Election Day, then their employer must give them two hours off to vote. The employee must be paid for those two hours. The employee is required to provide to their employer proof that they voted or attempted to vote. Voters should ask election judges for an official form that they can use for such proof.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-315 [link]

Campaigning, Electioneering, and Recording Devices

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering during early voting/absentee in-person voting?

Campaigning is prohibited within the area marked by a sign that says "No Electioneering Beyond This Point," which must be placed approximately 100 feet from the entrance and exit of the early voting location. However, in Montgomery County, this sign may be between 25 and 100 feet from the entrance/exit if the distance is approved by the local board.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-301.1(g) [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 16-206(b) [link]

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering on Election Day?

Campaining is prohibited within the area marked by a sign that says "No Electioneering Beyond This Point," which must be placed approximately 100 feet from the entrance and exit of the polling place. However, in Montgomery County, this sign may be between 25 and 100 feet from the entrance/exit if the distance is approved by the local board.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 16-206(b) [link]

Can a voter wear a button or t-shirt with a candidate's name or logo on it into the polling place when they vote?

Yes. Voters may wear clothing, buttons, hats, etc. that indicate support or opposition to a candidate into the 100-foot "No Electioneering" area so long as the voter enters the polling place, votes, and leaves without lingering.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. 33.07.09.02(B) [link]

*NEW 1** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) inside the polling place or voting booth?

No; electronic devices (including cameras, cell phones, pagers, computers) may not be used in the polling place.

Source (confirmed on: 10/14/2016)

Md. Code Regs. 33.7.04.02 [link]

*NEW 2** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) outside the polling place but within the zone around the polling place where campaigning/electioneering is banned?

State law does not address this issue. Local practices may vary.

Source (confirmed on: 10/8/2016)

Md. Code Regs. 33.7.04 [link]

Who's at the Polls?

Can persons other than election workers observe inside the polls?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-311 [link]

What are observers inside the polls called in the state?

An election observer in Maryland is called a "Watcher and Challenger."

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-311 [link]

Md. Challengers and Watchers Manual, p. 4 [link]

Does the state establish requirements to observe inside the polls?

Yes. A Watcher and Challenger must be a registered voter. Only the following entities may appoint a Watcher and Challenger to a polling place or voter registration location:

  • The State Board of Elections, which may appoint Watchers and Challengers to any polling place or registration place in the state
  • The local board of elections, which may appoint Watchers and Challengers to any polling place or registration place in the county
  • Any candidate, including any write-in candidate who has filed a Certificate of Candidacy
  • Any recognized political party
  • The chair or treasurer of any political committee that supports or opposes any candidate, principle, or proposition on the ballot.

Each of the above entities must provide each Challenger and Watcher it appoints with a signed certificate in the form prescribed by the State Board; click here to download a blank certificate. The signature on the certificate does not need to be an original certificate. Each Challenger and Watcher must show their certificate to election judges at the polling place where they are serving. Additionally, the appointing entity must provide copies of these certificates, and lists of the Challenges and Watchers it appoints, to the local board of elections.

An appointing entity can appoint more than one Challenger and Watcher per polling place, but Election Judges can limit the number present to ensure the orderly flow of election business.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-311 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.07.07.01 [link]

Md. Challengers and Watchers Manual, p. 4-6 [link]

*NEW 3* Can a poll observer use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) in the polling place?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 10/9/2016)

Md. Code Regs. 33.7.04.02 [link]

Are there other rules on what poll observers can or cannot do?

Watchers and Challengers may do any of the following:

  • Enter the polling place either 30 minutes before the polls open or any time after the polls open;
  • Enter or be present at the polling place at any time when the polls are open;
  • Remain in the polling place until the completion of all tasks associated with the close of the polls and the election judges leave the polling place;
  • Maintain a list of registered voters who have voted, or persons who have cast provisional ballots, and take the list outside of the polling place;
  • Enter and leave a polling place for the purpose of taking outside of the polling place information that identifies registered voters who have cast ballots or persons who have cast provisional ballots.

Watchers and Challengers cannot do any of the following:

  • Ascertain how a voter voted or intends to vote
  • Communicate, or attempt to communicate, with any voter in the polling place or within the 100-foot ""no electioneering"" area around it
  • Assist any voter cast their ballot
  • Physically handle any original election document
  • Use any eletronic communication device in the polling place, including a camera, cell phone, pager, or computer equipment
  • Wear clothing or accessories with a political message, or otherwise attempt to exercise political infuence in the polling place
  • Challenge or attempt to challenge the decision of an election judge

The chief judge will determine where in the polling place Watchers and Challengers may observe from. The location does not have to be directly behind the voter check-in table or within view of the electronic poll book.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-311 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.07.04.02 [link]

Md. Code Regs. 33.07.07.01 [link]

Provisional Voting and Voters at the Wrong Polling Place

When should a voter be offered a provisional ballot?

Under Section 203 of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, if a person claims to be a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which the person desires to vote and the person claims to be eligible to vote in a federal election, but the person’s name does not appear on the official list of eligible voters for the polling place or an election official asserts that the person is not eligible to vote, then that person must be permitted to cast a provisional ballot at that polling place. The person may cast the provisional ballot after executing, before an election official at the polling place, a written affirmation stating that the person is (1) a registered voter in the jurisdiction, and (2) eligible to vote in that election.

Additionally, any person who votes in a federal election as a result of a federal or state court order, or any other order extending the time established for closing the polls by a state law in effect 10 days before the date of that election, may only vote in that election by casting a provisional ballot. Any such ballot cast must be separated and held apart from other provisional ballots cast for different reasons.

Under state law, a voter should be offered a provisional ballot when:

  • The voter's name does not appear on the list of registered voters in that precinct
    • The voter has not provided the verification information that was requested by the local board of elections after the voter submitted a voter registration application that was incomplete, was unclear, or had an unverifiable identification number (driver's license number, state ID card number, or last four digits of the voter's Social Security Number)
    • The voter is voting for the first time in Maryland, registered to vote by mail without providing the required ID, and does not show the required ID when voting at the polls
    • The person is seeking to register to vote or update their registration address at an early voting location, but the voter does not provide proof of residence, or the voter is otherwise is deemed ineligible to vote by the State Board of Elections.
    • An election official asserts that the voter is ineligible to vote
  • The voter's right to vote was challenged and the voter's identity cannot be determined by Election Judges at the polls
    • The voter is casting their ballot during a court-ordered extension of the time that the polls are open.
    • The precinct register indicates that the voter already cast a ballot
    • In a primary election, the precinct register indicates that the voter is not registered with the political party the voter claims to be registered with
    • During early voting, the voter is not a prequalified voter or cannot provide proof of residency in the county
Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.16.05.03(C)(1) (verification information) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.05.04.05 (verification information) [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 9-404(b) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.19.04.02 (early voting address change) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.01.01.01(B)(25) (definition of pre-qualified voter) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.19.04.01(B) (early voting voter registration) [link]

Md. Code, Election Law § 10-312 [link]

If a voter casts a provisional ballot at the wrong precinct, will the ballot be counted?

Yes, partially. The only votes on the ballot that will be counted are votes on races and ballot measures that the voter would have been eligible to vote on in their correct precinct.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Election Law § 11-303(e)(2) [link]

Following up on a provisional ballot

The following voters who cast a provisional ballot must follow up with their local board of elections after they vote and provide additional information, or their provisional ballot will not be counted:

  • The voter has not provided the verification information that was requested by the local board of elections after the voter submitted an voter registration application that was incomplete, was unclear, or had an unverifiable identification number (driver's license number, state ID card number, or last four digits of the voter's Social Security Number). The voter must provide this verification information to their local board of elections office no later than 10:00 a.m. on the second Wednesday after Election Day (or the next business day, if that Wednesday is a legal holiday).
  • First-time voters in Maryland who registered to vote by mail and did not provide the required ID when registering to vote or when voting in person at the polls. These voters must submit the required ID to their local board of elections office no later than 10:00 a.m. on the second Wednesday after Election Day (or the next business day, if that Wednesday is a legal holiday).
  • Voters who registered to vote or changed their registration address at an early voting location without providing proof of residence. These voters must submit proof of residence to their local board of elections office no later than 10:00 a.m. on the second Wednesday after Election Day (or the next business day, if that Wednesday is a legal holiday).
Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.16.05.02(A) (deadline) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.16.05.03(C)(1), (3), (8), (9) [link]

Finding out if a provisional ballot was counted

Starting 10 days after an election, voters who cast a provisional ballot may use Maryland's Voter Look-Up Website learn whether their provisional ballot voted, and if it was not counted, the reason why. Click here to access the website.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Maryland's Voter Look-Up Website [link]

Md. State Bd. of Elections Website: Provisional Voting [link]

Ballot Shortages/Voting Machine Malfunctions

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a polling place runs out of printed ballots? Are handwritten/photocopied ballots allowed?

If a polling place runs out of ballots, the local board of elections must send additional ballots. Handwritten or photocopied ballots cannot be used because the voting machines cannot scan them.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-24)

Interview with Maryland State Board of Elections Office [link]

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a voting machine breaks or malfunctions?

If a voting machine breaks, voters will be instructed to deposit their ballots into the voting machine's emergency bin. Once the machine is repaired or a replacement machine arrives at the polling place, the ballots in the emergency bin will be fed into the machine by two Election Judges of different political parties.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-24)

Interview with Maryland State Board of Elections Office [link]

Voter ID and Challenges

Voter ID

Who must show ID to vote?

The following voters must show ID when voting:

  • Voters who are registering to vote or updating their registration address at an early voting location
  • First-time voters in Maryland who registered to vote by mail and did not provide one of the following forms of ID when registering to vote or any other time before the election: a valid Maryland driver's license number, state ID card number, or last four digits of the voter's Social Security Number (written on the registration application itself); or a copy of a current and valid photo ID; or a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter and is no more than 3 months old.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.19.04.01 (early voting voter registration) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.07.06.03 (first-time voters) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.07.06.04 (first-time voters) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.19.04.02 (early voting voter registration) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.01.01.01(B)(22) (first-time voters) [link]

What ID is acceptable?

If a voter is registering to vote or updating their registration address at an early voting location, they must show one of following types of ID as proof of residency, so long as it has the voter's name and current address:

  • A current Maryland driver's license, MVA-issued State ID card, or current MVA-issued change of address card, so long as it is not expired; or
  • A current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or another government document, so long as it was issued in the past 3 months.

If a first-time voter in Maryland did not provide ID when registering to vote or before the election, they must provide the following ID when voting:

  • A current and valid photo identification card (including any federal or state government-issued ID card, an employer-issued ID card, or a student ID); or
  • A current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter, so long as it was issued in the past 3 months.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.01.01.01(B)(17), (22), (26) [link]

Is a student ID an acceptable form of identification?

In some circumstances. For first-time Maryland voters who registered to vote by mail and did not provide ID when registering or at another time before the election, a student ID card is acceptable so long as it has a photograph of the voter and is current and valid.

For voters who are registering to vote or updating their registration address at an early voting location, student ID is probably not acceptable; a student ID can be used only if it (1) was issued by a public (not private) school, college, or university; and (2) has the voter's name and current address; and (3) is no more than 3 months old.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.01.01.01(B)(17), (22), (26) [link]

Does the address on the ID have to match the address at which the voter is registered?

For voters who are registering to vote or updating their registration address at an early voting location, the address on their ID must be their current address.

For first-time Maryland voters who registered to vote by mail and did not provide ID when registering to vote or at another time before the election, the address on their ID does not need to match the address at which the voter is registered.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.01.01.01(B)(17), (22), (26) [link]

If a voter has no ID, are there alternatives such as an oath or witness?

A voter without proper ID can cast a provisional ballot. For the provisional ballot to count, the voter must submit proper ID to their local board of elections office no later than 10:00 a.m. on the second Wednesday after Election Day (or the next business day, if that Wednesday is a legal holiday).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.16.05.02(A) (deadline) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.16.05.03(C)(3), (8), (9) [link]

Do elections without federal offices on the ballot (such as off-year gubernatorial elections) have different ID requirements?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.19.04.01 (early voting voter registration) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.07.06.03 (first-time voters) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.07.06.04 (first-time voters) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.19.04.02 (early voting voter registration) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.01.01.01(B)(22) (first-time voters) [link]

Challenges to Voters at the Polling Place

Who can challenge a voter at the polling place?

Any person may challenge a voter at the polls. However, election judges can limit the number of people who are present in the polling place for the purpose of challenging a voter. As soon as a majority of election judges decides the outcome of a challenge, the person who made the challenge must leave the polling place (unless they are an appointed Watcher and Challenger).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 10-311(e) [link]

What are the allowed reasons on which a voter can be challenged at the polling place?

The only ground on which a challenge can be made at the polls is a challenge to the voter's identity (in other words, that the voter is not whom they claim to be).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 10-312(a)(1) [link]

Is there a requirement for the challenger to provide cause or evidence?

A person may challenge a voter only if they have a reasonable basis for asserting that the voter is not whom the voter claims to be. If the challenged voter cannot provide ID proving their identity, then the person making the challenge must sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, explaining the reasons for the challenge.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 10-312(c)(1) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.07.08.02 [link]

How does a voter defend their eligibility to vote if they are challenged?

A challenged voter can prove their identity by showing election judges one of the following forms of ID:

  • Voter registration card
  • Social Security card
  • Valid Maryland driver's license
  • Any ID card issued by the federal government, Maryland government, or a local government in Maryland
  • Any employee ID card with the individual's photo that was issued to the voter in the ordinary course of the employer's business
  • A copy of a current bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the voter's name and current address.

If the voter presents one of these forms of ID, the voter will be allowed to vote a regular ballot.

If the voter does not present one of these forms of ID, the election judges will require the person challenging the voter to provide, in writing and under penalty of perjury, the reason for the challenge. The election judges will then allow the challenged voter to vote a provisional ballot and submit a signed statement, witnessed by the election judge, affirming their identity. During the provisional ballot canvass (which starts at 10:00 a.m. on the second Wednesday after the election), the local board will count the voter's provisional ballot only if they determine, after considering the information submitted by the person challenging the voter and the challenged voter, that the voter is whom they claim to be.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 10-312(c)(1) [link]

Md. Code Regs. § 33.16.05.02(A) (canvass date) [link]

State and Local Election Officials

The State Election Authority

Who/what is the state election authority?

State Board of Elections

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 2-102 [link]

Current official

David J. McManus, Jr. (Chair), Patrick J. Hogan (Vice Chair), Michael R. Cogan, Kelley A. Howells, Bobbie S. Mack

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. State Bd. of Elections Website: About SBE [link]

E-mail

info.sbe@maryland.gov

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. State Bd. of Elections Website: Contact Us [link]

Phone

410-269-2840

Toll free: 800-222-8683

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. State Bd. of Elections Website: Contact Us [link]

Address

Mailing Address:

PO Box 6486

Annapolis, MD 21401-0486

Physical Address:

151 West Street, Suite 200

Annapolis, MD 21401

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. State Bd. of Elections Website: Contact Us [link]

Local Election Authorities

What local election official(s) are in charge of major state-level elections (such as the even-year November general elections)?

County Boards of Elections (also called the "local board of elections")

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 2-201 [link]

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 2-202 [link]

What is the county-level election official?

County Boards of Elections (also called the "local board of elections")

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 2-201 [link]

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 2-202 [link]

What is the municipal-level election official?

Varies by municipality.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

http://www.elections.state.md.us/about/county_boards.html [link]

Contact information for local election authorities

Click here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. State Bd. of Elections Website: Local Boards of Election [link]

The Voter File

Voter File Basics

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) Disclosure Law

Section 8 of the federal NVRA requires that each State maintain for at least 2 years and make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters, except to the extent that such records contain information about a person declining to register to vote or information about the identity of a voter registration agency through which a particular voter might have chosen to register.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

52 U.S.C. § 20507 [link]

Acquiring a Voter File

Under state procedure, who may acquire a voter file?

Any registered Maryland voter. Click here to download the statewide voter file application form.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code Regs. § 33.03.02.03 [link]

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 3-506(a)(1) [link]

Who is the state-level contact for acquiring a voter file?

Stacey Johnson, MDVOTERS System Administrator, e-mail stacey.johnson@maryland.gov

Erin Dennis, Campaign Accounts Support, call 410-269-2867 or e-mail erin.dennis@maryland.gov

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. State Bd. of Elections Website: Staff Directory [link]

State of Maryland Application for Voter Registration Data [link]

How much does the state charge for the file?

$125, plus $3 for the CD

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

State of Maryland Application for Voter Registration Data [link]

What format is the file available in?

Tab separated text files with no text-delimeter. The file is offered on a CD.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

State of Maryland Application for Voter Registration Data [link]

Use of the Voter File

Does the state have restrictions on commercial use of the voter file?

Yes, the person requesting the file must swear an oath not to use the information from the file for commercial solitication or any other purpose not related to the electoral process.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 3-506(a)(1) [link]

Does the state have restrictions on non-commercial use of the voter file?

Yes, the person requesting the file must swear an oath not to use the information from the file for any purpose not related to the electoral process.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-09)

Md. Code, Elec. Law § 3-506(a)(1) [link]