How do I Vote?

IMPORTANT VOTING INFORMATION FOR 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

In the coming weeks every registered voter who hasn’t already applied for one will get an application for a mail-in ballot in the mail. Governor Hogan, the Maryland Democratic Party, and the St. Mary’s Democrats are all encouraging you to seriously consider this safe option. You don’t have to wait for your application. You can request one online at this link: 

https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/OnlineVoterRegistration/InstructionsStep1

It is not too early to create your voting plan. Keep one thing in mind: If you request a mail-in ballot and then decide to vote in person, you will get a provisional ballot so that the Board of Elections can make sure you are not voting twice. You are highly encouraged to make your plan and stick to it.

There are two main reasons why you should apply and do so early:

  1. We may have long voting lines like we saw in Wisconsin, Georgia, Kentucky, and other states, where people were standing in line for hours. In all likelihood, the number of polling locations will be limited.
  2. The confluence of flu season with the second wave of COVID-19 will make the fall particularly dangerous for large gatherings. If you are an at-risk individual (i.e. over 50, immunocompromised, or have medical conditions that increase your risk), you are especially encouraged to submit your request for a mail-in ballot.

If you hear that people are getting their ballots but you have not, please contact the Board of Elections. They are committed to resolve any issues you may have.

Once you fill out your ballot, you need to be aware that there are 3 reasons why a ballot is rejected:

  1. signature mismatch,
  2. not properly dating your signature, and
  3. having your ballot postdated after Election Day (Nov. 3).

Our Board of Elections has assured that they are not handwriting experts. So unless there is something obvious, just sign your ballot like you would a check and you will be fine. After signing, do not forget to date your signature. If you wait until near Election Day (within a week), ask the postal worker to hand stamp your postmark. 

Another option -- There will be four drop-off boxes in St. Mary’s County:

  1. Lexington Park Library,
  2. Charlotte Hall Library,
  3. Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department where early voting will take place, and
  4. the old Leonardtown Library building that the Board of Elections will be moving into in mid-August.

It has still not been decided when the drop boxes will be in place but nominally about 15 days before the election. Ballots in the drop off boxes will be picked up 3 times a day and the boxes will be locked shut at 8pm on Nov. 3, when the polls close. Unfortunately, votes will not be counted until after Election Day.

In-person Early Voting will take place October 26-November 2 at designated voting centers. In-person Election Day Voting will also be available.

One last thing the Board of Elections is asking: If you are young and healthy and have the time, please contact them to sign up to be a poll worker. Being able to staff precinct polling places is critically important.

Who can vote?

Any registered voter can vote. If you are not registered to vote, learn about how to register.

When can I vote?

You can either vote in person during early voting or on election day or by mail-in ballot.

Early Voting typically starts the 2nd Thursday before an election through the Thursday before an election. Each early voting center will be open continuously from 8 am to 8 pm each day. Anyone in line at 8 pm will be allowed to vote.

On Election Day, you can vote at your assigned polling place. If you do not know where your polling place is, please visit our voter look-up website. On Election Day, polling places are open continuously from 7 am until 8 pm. Anyone in line at 8 pm will be allowed to vote.

If you are unable to vote during early voting or on election day, you may vote by mail-in ballot. Find out more information about mail-in voting.

Where should I vote?

During Early Voting, you can vote at any early voting center in the jurisdiction where you live. Find out where the early voting center or centers are in your jurisdiction.

On Election Day, you should vote where you live. If your voter registration is up-to-date, you can refer to your Voter Notification Card for your precinct number and polling place location or use the voter look-up website. However, if you moved and have not updated your voter registration information, enter your new address in the Polling Place Locator. You will be required to vote a provisional ballot at the new polling place.

How will I cast my vote?

During Early Voting or on Election Day, you will hand mark a paper ballot. Use the pen provided to fill in the oval next to your choices. Review your ballot choices, place your voted ballot into the privacy sleeve and take it to the scanner. An election worker will direct you to insert your ballot into the scanning unit to cast your vote. Your ballot will be scanned and dropped into a secure ballot box.

There will be instructions available at the early voting centers and at your polling place to familiarize you with the ballot. You may ask an election judge to explain how to vote, but you must cast your vote alone, unless you are unable to do so because you have a disability or are unable to read or write the English language.

For mail-in absentee voting and provisional voting, you will issued a paper ballot. Use a black ink pen to fill in the oval next to your choices. Provisional ballots are returned to local election office in secure bags on election night. Mail-in and provisional ballots will be scanned at the local election office.

I have a disability. Will I be able to vote?

Yes. All of the early voting centers and the most polling places in Maryland are accessible to voters with disabilities.

See Access by Voters with Disabilities for more information.

Are election materials available in languages other than English?

Federal law requires Montgomery County to provide election materials in Spanish. Non-English materials may be provided in other jurisdictions on a voluntary basis. Contact your local board of elections to determine what is available in your jurisdiction.

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