Maryland election officials are asking voters to ignore the postcard with election instructions they received from the U.S. Postal Service and instead seek information from the state’s website.
The postcards, which began arriving last week, offer generic instructions about voting by mail. But because the mailing was designed to be sent to voters across the country, an included checklist is intentionally vague, state election administrator Linda Lamone said last week.
The result conflicts with state-specific voting instructions in Maryland and elsewhere. For instance, the postcard suggests requesting a ballot at least 15 days before the election. Maryland election officials have asked voters to request their mail-in ballots as soon as possible.
“A voter’s request for a mail-in ballot in Maryland must be received by their local board of elections no later than October 20,” the State Board of Elections said in a Monday news release. “If you request a ballot by mail, plan to mail your ballot application by October 15 to ensure that it will be delivered by October 20. There is no need to wait.”
The postcard checklist also advises voters to add postage to their mail-in ballots if needed, but Maryland’s ballots include a postage paid envelope. Only voters that opt to receive their ballot via email and then print it out will need to pay for postage.
Lamone told the State Board of Elections last week that she and other elections administrators across the country were trying to block the postcards from being mailed due to the confusion they were causing.
About 50% of Maryland’s voters are expected to participate in the Nov. 3 election via mail-in ballots. Such ballots can be returned via the mail or placed in ballot drop boxes. Voters also have the option of voting in person, either at an early voting center from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2 or on Election Day.