It depends on when you go. Most years, the least-crowded window is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. As long as you're in line by 8 p.m., you'll be allowed to cast a ballot.

4. What about my phone?

You'll have to turn it off when you go into the voting booth, so don't plan on checking your email or texting a friend if you forgot which candidate you liked. State laws forbid cameras or other means of communication within the voting areas. You're welcome to use your smartphone while you wait in line.

5. Does it matter if I go to the wrong precinct?

Yes. Election officials should be able to direct you to the correct location. Or you can choose to cast a provisional ballot, and elections officials will count as many races as possible. For example, if you go to a precinct that is not in your congressional district, your vote on statewide questions about president, senator and ballot initiatives will be counted but your vote for congressional representative will not.

6. Do I have to show a photo ID?

No. While photo identification is an issue in some states, Maryland does not have a mandatory voter-ID law. Except in a few circumstances, poll workers should not ask for identification. You may be asked for an ID if this is the first time you have voted in Maryland. If you are asked to show ID and do not have it or do not wish to show it, you can ask to cast a provisional ballot.

7. Does my boss have to give me time off to vote?

Only if you work a shift that gives you no time off between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. In that case, state law requires employers to give up to two hours' paid time off for registered voters. The employers can also ask for proof you voted, which poll workers can provide if you ask. Those "I voted" stickers may not count.

8. If something seems wrong at the polls, what do I do?

First, try talk to the election judges at your precinct. If that does not resolve your problem, contact the election board in your jurisdiction or the state election board.

9. Can I bring kids to the polls?

Yes. Voters may bring up to two people under the age of 18 to the polling place provided the children do not disrupt voting.

10. I voted early. Can I change my vote?


—Erin Cox

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