If you plan to vote early in Maryland’s election, these answers to frequently asked questions will help you head to the polls:
When is the early voting period?
Early voting for the general election runs Thursday, Oct. 25, through Nov. 1. Polls are open each day. According to the State Board of Elections, the first day and last two days are the busiest times to vote.
What are the hours to vote early?
The polls will be open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Lines often form in the morning but dwindle as the day goes on.
Will there be a line?
Voters in Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties can check their respective Board of Elections webpages for a preview of wait times at each polling station. In Carroll County, turnout updates are posted to the Board of Elections Facebook page.
Who can vote early?
As of Saturday, Oct. 20, there were 3,954,027 eligible, active voters on the rolls for this election in Maryland — a number that is expected to grow throughout the period of early voting and same-day registration.
All are eligible to vote early unless they have cast an absentee ballot.
Maryland’s eligible, active voters on the precinct roll, by county
Can I register at early voting sites?
Yes. Any eligible voter who is not yet registered may sign up at early voting sites and cast a ballot the same day.
Will I need ID?
Generally speaking, no. Some people who are voting for the first time in Maryland, as well as those registering at early voting sites, will be asked to show identification. Valid forms of ID include a state-issued driver’s license or ID card; a change-of-address card; your paycheck, bank statement or utility bill, or another government document with your name and current address.
Who — and what — is on the ballot?
There are hundreds of candidates across Maryland for a variety of offices. The statewide races are for governor, attorney general and the U.S. Senate. There are also two statewide ballot questions. Other races include Maryland’s eight U.S. House seats and the General Assembly seats.
You can find out more about the candidates via The Baltimore Sun’s voter guide.
Where can I vote early?
You can find the early voting sites in Baltimore and Maryland’s 23 counties here.
How will I cast a vote?
You will mark a paper ballot by hand, using the pen provided you to fill in the ovals next to your choices. After reviewing your choices, you will place your ballot in a privacy sleeve and take it to a scanner. An election worker will direct you to insert your ballot into the scanner to record your vote.
How popular is early voting?
Early voters have come out in strong numbers this fall. Both the first and second days of early voting ended with more than twice the ballots cast in each of the first two days in the 2014 midterm election. Midterm elections typically have lower turnout than presidential election years.
So far, the high-water mark is the 2016 presidential general election, when 31 percent voted early. That was roughly double the percentage in 2012.
Does the early vote predict the final result?
No. If it did, Democrat Anthony Brown would be governor. And Democrat Hillary Clinton would have won some of the battleground states she ended up losing in 2016 to Republican Donald Trump. Democrats have generally put more emphasis on early voting, but Republicans have a way of turning out on Election Day.