As the coronavirus pandemic rages on into Election Day, a number of states have chosen to mail every registered voter in their state a mail-in ballot application, including Maryland.
Mail-in ballots should start arriving at the end of September for voters that request them, either through the mail or online. Voters can also request that the ballot be sent to them by email, in which case they would print it themselves.
Oct. 13 is the deadline to register to vote for those voting by mail, but Maryland also has same-day voter registration during early voting and on Election Day.
Mail-in ballot applications are due on Oct. 20. Otherwise, early voting begins Oct. 26th and runs until Nov. 3.
Mail-in ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 or placed in a dropbox by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Maryland law changed this year and all postage is prepaid for ballots.
Voters can use the State Board of Elections website to see if their ballot application has been processed. If voters want to confirm their ballot has been received, they can call their local state board of elections office.
Due to a shortage of poll workers, the state will not be opening all 1,800 polling places, but will instead open 360 larger voting centers around the state.
Unlike the June primary where Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced ballots would be mailed to every registered voter, ballots will only be mailed in the general election for those who request them.
Tens of thousands of vote-by-mail ballots were rejected in the June primary, mostly due to failure to mail the ballot in time or failure to sign the ballot envelope to verify a voter’s identity.
In total, 34,948 were rejected which amounted to 2.39% of the nearly 3.6 million mail-in votes that were cast, an indication that voting by mail brings a higher risk of errors that can disqualify ballots, according to State Board of Elections deputy administrator Nikki Charlson.
Still, Charlson said the outcome did not affect the outcome of any races.