Who Can Vote
Can I vote in Maryland?
You can vote if you are registered before the deadline or if you go to an early voting center in the county where you live during early voting. (See the registration deadlines in the “Registration” section and get more information about early voting in the “Voting Early” section of this brochure.)
You can register if you meet all of the following qualifications:
(1) you are a U.S. citizen;
(2) you are a legal resident of Maryland;
(3) you are at least 16 years old (but you still cannot actually vote unless you will be 18 by November 6, 2018);
(4) you are under guardianship and no court has determined that you cannot vote, even with assistance;
(5) you have not been convicted of buying or selling votes;
(6) you are not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction.
Md. Elec. Law § 3-102.
I am 17 years old. Can I vote?
A registered 17 year old may vote in the Primary if they will be 18 years old on or before General Election. You can vote in the General Election if you are 18 on November 6, 2018. See http://www.elections.state.md.us/voter_registration/17_year_olds.html
What if I’m a student?
You can register to vote at your school address if you wish to. The law does not prohibit students from voting where they attend school. More information at: www.elections.state.md.us/voter_registration/
What if I’ve been convicted of a crime?
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you can still vote, but you have to vote by absentee ballot if you’re still incarcerated. If you were convicted of a felony by a state or federal court, you can vote if you’re not currently incarcerated. Your right to vote is automatically restored once you’re no longer incarcerated, but you will need to register again.
What if I’m homeless?
You don’t need a home to register, if you can show that you live and receive mail in the state.
You can register to vote:
(1) in person, by filling out a voter registration form at your local elections office;
(2) at an early voting center during early voting (see “Voting Early” section for details);
(3) by mail*, by filling out a voter registration form and mailing it to the State Board of Elections or your local elections office;
(4) when you apply for services at the Department of Motor Vehicles and state agencies that provide public assistance (such as Medicaid, WIC, and food stamps) or services to people with disabilities. Md. Elec. Law § 3-201; or
(5) online, by using Maryland’s Online Voter Registration system at https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/OnlineVoterRegistration/InstructionsStep1
*You can get voter registration forms from your local elections office, most libraries, colleges and high schools by calling (800) 222-8683, or by visiting www.elections.state.md.us/voter_registration/application.html
What’s the registration deadline?
For the Gubernatorial Primary Election, the deadline to register is Tuesday, June 5, or you can register to vote during early voting at an early voting center in the county where you live.
For the Gubernatorial General Election, the deadline to register is Tuesday, October 16, or you can register to vote during early voting at an early voting center in the county where you live.
What if I miss the deadline?
If you don’t register by October 16, you can register to vote during early voting at an early voting center in the county where you live. If you don’t register by the deadline or vote early, you can’t vote in the Gubernatorial Election.
What if I’ve moved or changed my name?
You should notify your local board of elections, either in person or by mail, before the registration deadline, or you can make changes during early voting at an early voting center in the county where you live.
How do I know if I’m registered?
You can check your registration status by calling your local elections office or online at https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch
Who can use an absentee ballot?
Any registered voter can use an absentee ballot.
How do I get an absentee ballot?
You must request one. Request forms are available online at https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/OnlineVoterRegistration/InstructionsStep1 or by calling (800) 222-8683.
For the 2018 Primary Election, your request must be received (not just mailed) by: Tuesday, June 19, 2018, if you want to receive your ballot by mail or fax OR Friday, June 22, 2018, if you want to download your ballot from the State's website.
For the 2018 General Election, your request must be received (not just mailed) by: Tuesday, October 30, 2018, if you want to receive your ballot by mail or fax OR Friday, November 2, 2018, if you want to download your ballot from the State's website.
What’s the deadline for returning my absentee ballot?
If you hand-deliver your ballot, you must deliver it to your local board of elections by 8pm on Election Day. If you mail your ballot, the envelope must be postmarked on or before election day and received by your local board of elections by 10 am on July 6 (primary election) or Nov 16 (general election).
Voting on Election Day
Problems at the polls
Can I vote before Election Day?
Any registered voter can vote early.
When can I vote early?
For the Primary Election: Early voting centers will be open from Thursday, June 14 through Thursday, June 21 from 10 am - 8 pm. If you are in line at 8 p.m. you will be able to vote.
For the General Election: Early voting centers will be open from Thursday, October 25 through Thursday, November 1, from 10 am - 8 pm. If you are in line at 8 p.m. you will be able to vote.
Where can I vote early?
Each county in Maryland will have at least one (1) early voting center. You can find your local early voting center by visiting http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/early_voting.html or calling your local board of elections or (800) 222-8683.
When is Election Day?
The Primary election is Tuesday, June 26, 2018.
The General election is Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
When are the polls open?
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You have the right to vote if you’re in line or inside your polling place when the polls close. Md. Elec. Law § 10-301.
Can I get time off from work to vote?
Maybe. If your work schedule would prevent you from voting in person while the polls are open, you have the right to take time off from work (up to two hours must be paid time off) in order to vote. You should give your employer at least two working days’ notice, and your employer probably has the right to specify which hours you get to take. Md. Elec. Law § 10-315.
Where do I vote?
On Election Day, you have to vote at the polling place to which you’re assigned. Your assigned polling place will be listed on the voter registration card that you should receive in the mail when you register. If you don’t have your card, you can call your local board of elections or look up your polling place online at http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/where.html.
What if my polling place is not accessible?
If you find this out before Election Day, see www.elections.state.md.us/voting/accessibility.html, complete the Request for Polling Place Change or Absentee Ballot and submit it to your local board of elections. The board of elections will do its best to change your polling place to one that is accessible for you. If your polling place cannot be changed, a local election official will notify you and send you an absentee ballot. See the Absentee Ballot section for instructions and deadlines. All of the early voting centers in Maryland are fully accessible. Md. Elec. Law § 10-301.1. Otherwise, bring one or more people to assist you. You have the right to have anyone you choose assist you as long as the person is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your labor union, or a candidate on the ballot.
Can I take election materials with me into my polling place?
Yes. You can take written or printed election materials with you as long as they’re for your own use in casting your ballot. Examples include a sample ballot, a voter guide, or this card. But you’re not allowed to show or distribute these materials to anyone else within 100 feet of your polling place. You are allowed to wear campaign clothing, stickers, or buttons in your polling place. Md. Elec. Law § 16-206.
Can I get a ballot in my native language?
If you vote in Montgomery County, you have the right to assistance in Spanish. Poll workers are required to offer this assistance to you. If they don’t, tell a poll worker that you want assistance in Spanish. You’re entitled to a translation of all ballots and other election materials. If you vote in Prince George’s County or Baltimore City, election materials and ballots will be available in Spanish. You always have the right to bring an interpreter with you to the polls or to get language assistance from anyone you choose, including a poll worker, as long as the person is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your labor union, or a candidate on the ballot.
What if I need help in the voting booth?
If you need instructions on how to use the voting equipment, ask a poll worker for help. They are required to help you at any time you ask—even after you’ve entered the voting booth.
Do I have to show ID?
Probably not. Most voters won’t need to show ID at all.
You ONLY need ID if:
(1) you’re a first-time voter in Maryland; and
(2) you registered to vote by mail; and
(3) you haven’t yet provided any identification to your local board of elections. If you registered after January 1, 2006, you probably provided ID as part of the registration process.
What are the accepted forms of ID?
Accepted forms of ID include MVA-issued license, ID card, or change of address card, or a paycheck, bank statement, utility bill, or a government document with your name and address.
What if I don’t have any ID?
You can cast a provisional ballot. If you have time and have ID at home or work, it’s usually better to get your ID and return to the polls to cast a regular ballot. Md. Elec. Law § 9-404, Md. Elec. Law § 10-312. Provisional ballots are counted regardless of whether they will change the outcome of the election. If you cast a provisional ballot at the wrong polling place, only the contests that appear on the ballot where you live will be counted.
What if I’m not on the voter list?
First, ask a poll worker to check the list again and to confirm that you’re at the right polling place for your address. If you’re at the right polling place but your name isn’t on the voter list, ask for a provisional ballot. You have the right to cast a provisional ballot, even if your name isn’t on the voter list, as long as you’re willing to swear or affirm that you believe you registered to vote.
What if I go to the wrong polling place?
Go to the right polling place. You can ask a poll worker to help you find the polling place where you’re registered. You can also call your local elections office or look up your polling place online at http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/where.html.
If you can’t figure it out,, go the polling place that you think is most likely to be the right one for your address and ask for a provisional ballot. You have the right to cast a provisional ballot even if you’re not sure that you’re at the right polling place.
What if someone challenges my right to vote?
Only an election judge can challenge your eligibility to vote. If your identity is challenged, you can present your voter registration card or ID. If you have ID, you’ll be able to cast a regular ballot. Otherwise, you might have to vote by provisional ballot. Md. Elec. Law § 10-312.
What if someone tries to intimidate or harass me?
Tell a poll worker right away. If the poll worker is the problem, tell a poll watcher, call your local board of elections, or call the ACLU of Maryland Election Protection hotline at 410-889-8555.
What if I make a mistake on my ballot or the voting machine malfunctions?
Tell a poll worker before you cast your ballot. Once you cast your ballot, it’s too late to change it. Md. Code Regs. 18.104.22.168. If your voting machine malfunctions, notify a poll worker immediately and request a different machine. If you make a mistake on a paper ballot, you have the right to up to two replacement ballots. Md. Code Regs. 22.214.171.124.
How do I make a complaint?
First, ask for an election supervisor at your polling place. They can handle most routine complaints that arise on Election Day. Candidates, political parties, and nonprofit groups may also have poll watchers at your polling place that might be able to assist you. If any of those people ask you whom you voted for, or if they can’t resolve your complaint, call your local elections office or the ACLU of Maryland Election Protection hotline at 410-889-8555.