Maryland Elections

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Upcoming Elections

2016 Presidential Preference Caucus: Tuesday, April 26

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8

For more information, visit the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Please note that the information in the sections below has not been updated, and refers to the 2015 general election.

Voting Rights

News

Confusion over South Carolina ID law could keep voters away
02/12/16 |
Publication Date: 
Friday, February 12, 2016 - 15:45
Excerpt: 

According to the state’s numbers, 178,000 South Carolinians, disproportionately non-whites, don’t have any of the forms of photo ID that the law calls for. Crucially, people are in fact allowed to vote even without a photo ID, as long as they sign an affidavit stating why they don’t have one. But those working to mobilize voters say which documents are and aren’t required is not well understood.

“I think people are confused,” said Jan Leonard, an official with the Charleston County Democratic Party....Leonard and others say the state has helped stoke that confusion through its public education campaign about the law. ...

Some of the confusion stems from the ID law’s passage through the courts....Ultimately, a three-judge federal panel upheld the law in 2012, but the judges made clear that the state had to accept almost any “reasonable impediment” that voters offered as a reason why they didn’t have ID.

North Carolina DMV says it messed up by rejecting 86-year-old woman
02/12/16 |
Publication Date: 
Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 12:15
Excerpt: 

Amy Lee Knisley, Bowser’s daughter-in-law [, said] “She’s been voting and getting driver’s licenses, and traveling in the Caribbean and Mexico, all those 60 odd years. And the state of North Carolina decides none of that is good enough for us.” ...

Knisley, a faculty member at Warren Wilson College, worries about other women who may have difficulty proving that they changed their names when they married long ago. ...

If you don’t have a court order, marriage certificate or divorce decree to establish that you changed your name in the past, you can sign a DMV form DL-101 – an affidavit in which you affirm that you have legally changed your name – at the DMV office. ...

“We’ve not heard of [the opportunity to provide a sworn statement about name changes] before,” [Irving Joyner, a Durham lawyer for the NAACP] said. “This mix of mismatched names is a common problem for Latinos. We don’t know how many people are impacted by this problem, but obviously this is a problem.”

Joyner said he and other attorneys plan to look deeper into the Bowser case. He said he has represented ID applicants over the past few years who were never offered the option of an affidavit.

“It would appear – and we’re looking into it – that this was a resolution that was tailor-made for this one participant,” Joyner said. “It certainly smells like it’s something that’s not available to all.” 

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Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

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Helpful Election Information

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 Presidential Preference Caucus: Tuesday, April 26

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8

For more information, visit the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Please note that the information in the sections below has not been updated, and refers to the 2015 general election.

Election Day: On election day, polling places are open continuously from 7 am until 8 pm on. Anyone in line at 8 pm will be allowed to vote.

Days of Early voting:

Early voting starts the 2nd Thursday before an election through the Thursday before an election. 

Early Voting Hours: Designated polling places will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during the early voting period. 

Anyone in line at 8 pm will be allowed to vote

How to Find Your Polling Place

To locate your polling place, visit the Maryland State Board of Elections Polling Place Lookup webpage, or call your local Board of Elections or 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

REGISTER TO VOTE HERE

Registration Deadlines

You must register at least 21 days before an election.

How to Check if You Are Registered

  • Visit the Maryland State Board of Elections Voter Lookup webpage, or
  • Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

How to Register

Online

You can use Maryland's Online Voter Registration System (OLVR) to register to vote.  You must provide a valid Maryland-issued state ID number or driver's license number.  If you reside outside of the United States or are a member of the military or spouse or dependent of a member of the military, you can provide the last four digits of your US social security number.  If you provide a Maryland-issued ID, the signature on file with the MVA will become your official voter registration signature.  If you provide a social security number, it will be used as your official voter registration signature.

In Person

  • At their local board or state board office;
  • At registration site administered by a local board; or
  • At a voter registration agency.

By Mail

Either print an application form or contact your local board of elections or the State Board of Elections to request an application; fill out and print the Voter Registration Application form according to the instructions provided with it.  Be sure to sign the form where appropriate before mailing it.  The Voter Registration Application form cannot be processed without an ORIGINAL signature.

  • You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the Voter Registration Application form.  We encourage you to fill out the form directly from Adobe Acrobat Reader and then print and sign it.
  • Forms can be MAILED to the State Board of Elections (see address) or to your county's Board of Elections.  Do NOT fax or e-mail your Voter Registration Application.

Or, you may also register:

  • When applying to the Motor Vehicles Administration for the issuance, renewal, or modification of a driver’s license or identification card;or
  • Through a voter registration drive.

Registration Eligibility

In order to be eligible to register or vote in Maryland, an individual must be:

  • A U.S. citizen;
  • A Maryland resident; and
  • At least 16 years old.  You may register to vote if you are at least 16 years old but cannot vote unless you will be at least 18 years old by the next general election.

 You cannot have been:

  • Convicted of buying or selling votes;
  • Found by a court to be incapable of voting by reason of mental disability; or
  • Convicted of a felony or if you have, you have completed a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment, including any term of parole or probation for the conviction.

Identification Required for Registration

With your voter registration application, you must provide:

  • A Maryland driver’s license number;
  • MVA ID Card number; or
  • If you do not have a Maryland driver’s license or MVA ID Card, the last four digits of your Social Security Number.

Your application will NOT be processed unless you provide this information or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that you do not have a Maryland driver’s license, MVA ID Card, or social security number.

Identification Requirements to Vote

Some first time voters in Maryland will be asked to show ID before voting.

If you are asked to show ID, please show an election judge one of the following forms of ID:

  • A copy of a current and valid photo ID (i.e., Maryland driver's license, MVA-issued ID card, student, employee, or military ID card, U.S. passport, or any other State or federal government-issued ID card);
  • A copy of a current utility bill;
  • Bank statement, government check;
  • Paycheck; or
  • Other government document that shows your name and address.

Current means that the document is dated within 3 months of the election.

If You Want to Vote Early

Early voting starts the 2nd Thursday before an election through the Thursday before an election.  Designated polling places will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during the early voting period.

For Early Voting questions and locations, please visit the Maryland State Board of Elections Early Voting Page.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot. 

There are three ways you can request an absentee ballot:

Your request for an absentee ballot must be received (not just mailed):

  • 7 days before Election Day, if you want to receive your ballot by mail or fax; or
  • 4 days before Election day, if you want to download your ballot from the State’s website

You must return your ballot by mail or by hand delivering.  Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your local board of elections by 10 am on the 2nd Friday after the election.  Hand delivered absentee ballots must be delivered to your local board of elections by 8 pm on Election Day.  

Identification Requirements to Register to Vote

With your voter registration application, you must provide:

  • A Maryland driver’s license number;
  • MVA ID Card number; or
  • If you do not have a Maryland driver’s license or MVA ID Card, the last four digits of your Social Security Number.

Your application will NOT be processed unless you provide this information or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that you do not have a Maryland driver’s license, MVA ID Card, or social security number.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

Some first time voters in Maryland will be asked to show ID before voting.

If you are asked to show ID, please show an election judge one of the following forms of ID:

  • A copy of a current and valid photo ID (i.e., Maryland driver's license, MVA-issued ID card, student, employee, or military ID card, U.S. passport, or any other State or federal government-issued ID card);
  • A copy of a current utility bill;
  • bank statement, government check;
  • paycheck; or
  • other government document that shows your name and address.

Current means that the document is dated within 3 months of the election.

Give the local board of elections where you currently live your new address information.  You can use the voter registration application to make the change, or you can submit in writing your new address.  You can also use the voter registration application to make a name or party affiliation change.

If you changed your address with MVA, the change should have been sent to your local board of elections unless you specifically stated that you did not want your address changed for voter registration purposes.  You can verify that your address has been updated by using the voter look-up website.  If you cannot find your information by entering the zip code of your new address, try entering the zip code of your former address.  If you find your information using your former address information, it means that your change of address has not been processed.  Please contact your local board of elections or submit a voter registration application with your new information.

If you do not receive a Voter Notification Card with your new address and polling place information within three to four weeks, contact the local board of elections where you now live to ensure that your records are up-to-date.

There is a deadline to submit your new address information.  To update your address before the next election, please use Maryland's Online Voter Registration System (OLVR) or submit a voter registration application or written notice with your new address at least 21 days before the election.  If you submit the information after this date, the change cannot be made until after the election and you will have to vote a provisional ballot.  To update your address before the next election, please use Maryland's Online Voter Registration System (OLVR) or submit a voter registration application or written notice with your new address at least 21 days before the election.  If you submit the information after this date, the change cannot be made until after the election and you will have to vote a provisional ballot.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  For more information on how to use this process to register and vote in Maryland, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) Maryland-specific FPCA page.

Military or overseas voters registered in Maryland may request an absentee ballot online if you have a Maryland Driver’s License, MVA ID Card, or Social Security Number. 

Military and overseas citizens can also use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).The FWAB is a blank ballot on which voters write-in their choices.  The FWAB may also be used to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step.  If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline.  For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's Maryland-specific FWAB page.

If you have been convicted of a felony and have completed serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment, including any term of parole or probation for the conviction, you are eligible to register to vote. 

You will not qualify to register to vote if you have been convicted of buying or selling votes.

For more information, visit the Maryland State Board of Elections website.

**The materials below have not been updated since 2014**

FAQ

Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, visit the National Disability Rights Network’s voting resource center.

For more information for student voters, visit the Maryland Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights