The Maryland State Board of Elections has issued a series of recommendations designed to assist voters who will cast their ballots in person on Election Day. The state elections board also reiterated the ballot-counting schedule to reassure voters that all properly submitted ballots will be counted in the election’s official results.
The board advises all voters who plan to vote in person on Election Day to:
• Double check vote center locations in their jurisdiction as traditional polling locations will not be open due to COVID.
• Check the local weather forecast in their area prior to heading to a vote center and to dress accordingly. If there is a chance of rain in the forecast, voters should bring an umbrella.
• While the best time to vote is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the State Board encourages voters to be prepared for lines and advises voters to bring items like a folding chair, a snack and a bottle of water.
• Plan ahead to ensure that you are in line by 8 p.m. on Election Day to cast your ballot. Voter centers will remain open to allow all voters who are in line by 8 p.m. to cast their ballot.
The board asks voters who plan to vote in person to wear a mask. Voters who arrive at vote centers without masks will be offered one; voters who have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask will be requested to vote a provisional ballot outside of the voting room to protect other voters and election judges. The number of voters permitted inside a vote center at any one time may be limited in order to maintain social distancing.
Election Day vote centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Any eligible voter who is in line by 8 p.m. will be permitted to vote.
“It is imperative that every eligible Marylander have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote,” said Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone. “Election officials across the state are prepared to keep vote centers open as long as it takes for voters who were in line by 8 p.m. to cast their ballots.”
It is important for voters to recognize that all properly cast ballots will be counted in the election’s official results. Due to the variety of ways ballots are being submitted this year, some voters’ ballots will not show on the state’s online ballot tracker as counted until after Election Day. For example, properly completed mail-in ballots postmarked by November 3 will be accepted until November 13. Properly completed ballots placed in authorized ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. on November 3 will also be accepted; however, based on when ballots are submitted and the overall volume of ballots received, some ballots will not show on the online tracker as having been counted until after Election Day.
“Some voters will understandably be concerned that a ballot they submitted prior to Election Day is not showing as counted on the ballot tracker by November 3,” Lamone said. “Marylanders should be assured that, if a ballot was properly completed and submitted by the deadline, it will be counted in the election’s official results. While media outlets may ‘call’ the election on election night, that determination is not based on an official count of ballots received. Due to the nature of this election, counting will continue for some time after Election Day.”
While canvassing of ballots — which includes the opening and counting of ballots — could begin on October 1, results of ongoing canvassing will be embargoed until vote centers close on Election Day. After vote centers close on Election Day, results from early voting (October 26 to November 2) and results from mail-in ballots counted up to Election Day will be released. In subsequent hours on Election Night, results from in-person Election Day voting will be released.
After Election Day, updated results will be released each day that ballots are counted. Not all counties may count ballots every day, but updates will be provided every day that ballots are counted. Counting of provisional ballots will start on the second Thursday after the election. These results will be announced when they are counted.
For voters who missed the advance voter registration deadline, same-day registration is available at Election Day vote centers. To prove their place of residence, Marylanders registering in person on Election Day will need to bring their Motor Vehicle Administration-issued driver’s license, identification card or change of address card, or a paycheck, bank statement, utility bill or other government document that includes the voter’s name and new address.
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