The deadline for citizens who wish to register to vote in the upcoming Primary Election in quickly approaching. The voter registration application must be received in a state election office before 9:00 p.m. on August 22, or contain an August 22 postmark from the United States Postal Service, in order to qualify for the upcoming election.
Advocates for voter participation note that many people avoid voter registration because they fear being called for jury duty. They point out that Maryland uses both voter registration and the MVA drivers license database to select juror candidates. Therefore, failing to register to vote does not guarantee that one will not be called for jury duty.
The Primary election will be held on September 12, 2006. This is also the first year that Marylanders will be able to vote early. Early voting for the Primary occurs on Tuesday, September 5 through Saturday, September 9. The General Election day is the Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November, which falls on November 7th this year. Early voting occurs on Tuesday, Oct 31 through Saturday, Nov 4 at select locations in each county. Early voting affords citizens the ability to vote without having to take off time from their work.
This election will prove to be an important one for both the state of Maryland and the nation overall. At the national level, the Democratic Party is fighting to take back a majority position in either the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate. Republicans currently control the entire Congress and the White House. Political analysts point out that the Democratic Party must regain control in the House or Senate before the U.S. can initiate serious investigations into the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and the Invasion of Iraq. Democratic control of the House would also be necessary in order to hold hearings into whether or not impeachment proceedings against President Bush should be initiated. A January 2006 poll by the non-partisan polling company Zogby International indicated that, "by a margin of 52% to 43%, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he wire-tapped American citizens without a judge's approval."
All U.S. Congressmen face re-election every two years and thus all seats are up for bid in the November Election. Steny Hoyer (D) faces competition from Green Party candidate Steve Warner. Two Republicans, Marion Rodney Alvey and Ronald Edward Miller, will face a run-off in the Primary to see who faces Hoyer. Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes (D) is also retiring this year leaving one of Maryland's two coveted Senate seats up for grabs. Numerous Republicans and Democrats will compete in the Primary on September 12 to determine the final November line-up.
In Maryland, incumbent Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R) faces stiff competition from Democratic candidate Martin O'Malley. O'Malley is currently serving as the Mayor of Baltimore. Ehrlich is the first Republican to hold the office since Spiro Agnew served from 1967-1969. Of particular interest to southern Maryland is the race for the Senate seat in the 29th District. Incumbent Roy P. Dyson faces his first tough competition in years against current St. Mary's County Commissioner President Thomas McKay (R). McKay's run for Senator also leaves the County Board Presidency up for grabs.
A Complete list of offices and the respective candidates can be found in the 2006 Election Guide at http://somd.com/elections/ .
Persons wishing to vote can obtain voter registration applications at the following locations:
- Motor Vehicle Administration offices
- Marriage license bureaus
- State Department of Health offices
- Post Offices
- Local Department of Social Services offices
- Public libraries
- Offices on Aging
- County Boards of Elections
- Division of Rehabilitation Services
- State Board of Elections
- Public institutions of higher education
Citizens may also download a voter registration application from the website of the State Board of Elections at http://www.elections.state.md.us/pdf/InternetVRA.pdf or may have a voter registration application mailed by calling the State's 24-hour toll free telephone number at 1-800-222-VOTE (8683).
If a voter registered by mail after January 1, 2003, federal law requires that the voter provide identification information before casting his or her vote in the upcoming election. To avoid presenting identification information at the time of voting, the voter should send the board of elections one of the following:
1. A copy of a current or valid photo identification;
2. A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or government document that shows the voter's name and address.
If the voter is required to provide identification information but fails to do so before voting, the voter will be issued a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot will only be counted if the voter is duly registered and provides the identification information before canvassing of the provisional ballots occurs.
Each county has a Board of elections. Contact information is provided below.
Calvert County Board of Elections
410-535-2214 or 301-855-1376
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F
Charles County Board of Elections
301-934-8972 or 301-870-3167
Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
St. Mary's County Board of Elections
(301) 475-7844 ex 1610 or 1611
(301) 475-4077 (Fax)
Office Hours 8:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m.
2006 Southern Maryland Election Guide