In Maryland there are three ways to vote – by mail, in person during Early Voting, or in person on Election Day. In 2020, special election procedures were authorized by the Governor because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless there is a similar emergency or legislation is passed by the General Assembly, we anticipate a return to normal procedures for 2022. The normal (currently authorized) procedures are outlined below along with a short description of the alternate procedures used in 2020.
Three Ways to Vote
Method One: Mail-in (absentee): A Two Step Process
Step 1 – The normal process is for a registered voter to request and complete an application for a mail-in ballot and return it to the Board of Elections by a given date in order to be sent an actual ballot to vote. Voters can obtain an application for mail-in (absentee ballot) in one of the following ways:
- Online: Access the online application here. You must have a Maryland driver’s license or other MVA issued card to apply online. The online process is also used for voter registration so by using it you will make sure your voter registration is correct. The online application can also be accessed by texting VBM to 77788.
- By Mail: Print out the form in English or Spanish, fill it out, and return by mail, email, fax or in person to the Board of Elections. The form will be made available on the State Board of Elections website closer to the election.
- By Phone: Call the Montgomery County Board of Elections, 240-777-8550
Alternative methods used in 2020: For the 2020 Primary election, every active registered voter was mailed a ballot to vote and return – also called Vote by Mail. For the 2020 General election, a two-step process was used. The State Board of Elections mailed an application for a mail-in (absentee) ballot to every active registered voter to complete and return. Upon receipt of the completed application, SBE mailed the ballot along with a postage paid return envelope for the voter to return. Voters could also return their voted ballot to a Ballot Drop Box for both the 2020 Primary and General election.
Step 2 – Vote Your Mail-in (Absentee) Ballot and Return It.
The voter must sign the envelope in which their ballot is placed and returns it by mail making sure it is postmarked on or before Election Day.
Alternative methods used in 2020: For the 2020 Primary, voters could also return their completed ballot to a Ballot Drop Box by 8:00pm on Election Day. For the 2020 General election, voters could return their completed ballot to a Ballot Drop Box by 8:00pm on Election Day, or hand deliver it to any of the 11 Early Voting Centers during Early Voting or to any of the 39 Vote Centers on Election Day
More information on vote by mail at Maryland State Board of Elections.
Method Two: Vote in person during Early Voting
–at any one of eleven Early Voting Centers normally for a period of seven days.
Voters may go to any Early Voting Center. Registered voters can also update their address or name at Early Voting. Persons who have not already registered to vote in Maryland may register for the first time and vote the same day provided they bring identification – same day registration. Early Voting Centers are not open on Election Day unless they serve as a precinct polling place.
Alternative methods used in 2020: There was no early voting for the 2020 Primary. There were eight days of early voting for the 2020 General election. Early Voting Centers were also open on Election Day and served as Vote Centers
Method Three: Vote in person on Election Day at assigned precinct polling place.
There are approximately 255 precinct polling places in Montgomery County. Voters who do not go to their assigned precinct polling place may have to vote a provisional ballot. Persons who have not already registered to vote in Maryland, may register for the first time and vote the same day on Election Day provided they bring identification – same day registration
Alternative methods used in 2020: For the 2020 Primary election, in person voting on Election Day was held at four Vote Centers. Voters could go to any of the four Vote Centers. Four of the established Early Voting Centers were chosen as the four Vote Centers. For the 2020 General election, in person voting was held at 39 Vote Centers (all of the 11 Early Voting Centers, 25 public high schools, and a few other facilities). Voters could go to any Vote Center.
Keep Your Voter Registration Up to Date
Whether you vote by mail or in person, you should make sure that your registration is up to date. You can check your voter registration at Voter Lookup and update your address if necessary. If you are not registered to vote in Maryland, you may register online. Also see How Do I Register.
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For more information on topics studied by our League, see the Making Democracy Work Committee