Everything You Need to Know about Voting on Nov. 2

ANNAPOLIS (October 14, 2010)—For the 2010 Gubernatorial General Election, voters can vote in person or by absentee ballot. To vote in person, a voter can vote before election day at an early voting center in their county of residence or vote on election day at the polling place for their residence.

Early voting centers will be open for voting from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on October 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th. (There will be no early voting on Sunday, October 24th.) There is at least one early voting center in each county, and voters must vote at the designated early voting center(s) in their county of residence. Addresses, driving directions, and photographs of all of the early voting centers are available at www.elections.state.md.us.

Voters who prefer to vote on election day can vote on Tuesday, November 2. On election day, polling places will be open for voting from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. To avoid delays, voters should try to vote between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

Where Do I Vote?

During early voting, voters should vote at the designated early voting center(s) in their county of residence. There is at least one early voting center in every county, and each center is located at an accessible facility with adequate parking and within a convenient driving distance for most of the voters of the county. Information about the early voting centers and early voting in general is available at www.elections.state.md.us.

On election day, voters should vote at the polling place to which they are assigned. A voter can find his or her assigned precinct by looking at the voter notification card he or she received from the local board of elections or by visiting www.mdelections.org. If a voter has moved and did not update his or her address with the local board, the voter should visit www.mdelections.org and search for the polling place for his or her new address or to contact the local board of elections. It is important for the voter to vote in the polling place for his or her new address, as only those contests for which the voter is eligible to vote will be counted.

How Do I Vote?

All voters in Maryland use the same voting system. For early voting and polling place voting, voters use a touch-screen voting system. Instructions are available at polling places for voters to familiarize themselves with the ballot and how to vote. Voters may also ask an election judge to explain how to vote on the voting system, but a voter must vote alone, unless the voter is unable to do so because of disability, inability to write, or inability to read the ballot.

For absentee and provisional voting, voters use a paper-based optical scan voting system. With this system, voters are issued a paper ballot and fill in the oval next to the candidate or ballot question response for which he or she wants to vote. At the local board of elections, the ballot is fed into a scanning unit, which reads and tabulates the selections made by voters. All provisional ballots and absentee ballots are considered in a public meeting after the election and counted or rejected according to State law and regulation.

How Can I Get an Absentee Ballot?

The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail, email or by fax is Tuesday, October 26, 2010. Voters can request to receive their absentee ballots by mail, electronically, or by fax. Voters who request an electronic absentee ballot will be notified by email that their ballot is ready for downloading from the Maryland Elections Center's website (www.mdelections.org). On this website, voters will enter unique identifying information and print their ballots, voting instructions, and template for an envelope to return the voted ballot.

Starting Wednesday, October 27th through election day, voters must request an absentee ballot in person at a local board of elections. The absentee ballot application is available at www.elections.state.md.us under "Absentee Voting" in the left column.

Voted absentee ballots may be delivered to the local board of elections by 8:00 pm on election day or mailed on or before election day and received by the local board by Friday, November 12, 2010. All absentee ballots are reviewed, regardless of whether or not the absentee ballots will impact the outcome of an election.

What is a Provisional Ballot?

A provisional ballot is a safeguard to ensure that an individual who believes that he or she is registered and eligible to vote is able to vote. If a voter is required to vote by provisional ballot, the voter will be asked to complete a provisional ballot application and vote a paper-based optical scan ballot. It is important that the voter complete the entire provisional ballot application, as the information on the application is used to determine whether the provisional ballot will be counted.

All provisional ballot applications are reviewed, regardless of whether or not the provisional ballots impact the outcome of an election. A provisional ballot will only be counted after the local board of elections has reviewed the provisional ballot application and determined that the individual is in fact registered and eligible to vote the provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is not an alternative to the electronic voting system. Additional information about provisional voting is available at www.elections.state.md.us under "Voting."

Additional election-related dates and information are available at www.elections.state.md.us under "Elections" and "2010 Gubernatorial Elections." For more information, voters may contact the local boards of elections or the State Board of Elections at 1-800-222-VOTE (8683).

Source: Maryland State Board of Elections

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