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The 2020 presidential election is coming up on Nov. 3, and there are a couple of changes this year that you need to know about before you vote. The biggest decision you’ll have to make is whether you’re going to vote by mail or in person.

Before you do anything

Are you registered to vote?
You can register online by Tues., Oct. 13. Find out if you are already registered here. If you're not, see the steps you can take below.

Are you planning to vote in person or by mail?
If you decide to request a ballot via the mail, you won’t be able to change your mind and then vote with a traditional ballot at a voting center. The state is keeping track of who requests mail ballots so that people don’t vote twice. If you requested a mail ballot and choose to vote in person, you’ll be asked to vote a provisional ballot instead.

important dates

Voter registration Oct. 13

Mail-in
  • Application deadline: Received by Oct. 20
  • Ballot deadline: Postmarked by Nov. 3
In-person
  • Early voting: Oct 26 through Nov. 2
  • Election Day: Nov. 3


by mail

Request a ballot

Maryland is not sending everyone a ballot this fall, like the state did for the June primary. So, you must apply for a ballot.
There are a couple ways to do this:

Option 1. Go online to the State Board of Elections website right now and put in a request. You’ll need a valid Maryland ID.

Option 2. Wait for the ballot request form that the state mailed to all voters, which have already begun arriving in voter's mailboxes. Then, fill out and return the application (postage is paid) ahead of Oct. 20 — the date it must be received by election officials.

  • Request your ballot to come in the mail or via email. If you receive it via email, you will need to find a way to print it. Ballots that come in the mail will have prepaid postage; emailed ballots will not.

  • Note: Election officials ask that you only request a ballot via email if necessary. Ballots printed from email must be manually copied by election staff before they can be counted, slowing the process.

    Return your ballot

    Option 1. Mail back your ballot, postmarked no later than Nov. 3.

    Option 2. Return ballot via dropbox. Maryland will have about 270 drop boxes available by Election Day. There are supposed to be cameras trained on each of those boxes, and they’re emptied several times a day. Locations and dates the boxes will be available have yet to be determined.


    in person

    Early voting

    Maryland will offer early voting starting Oct. 26 through Nov. 2, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can vote in the county in which you are registered. The state has approved 67 early voting centers so far. You will be able to find your polling location here.

    Voting on Election Day, Nov. 3

    About 360 voting centers will open Tues., Nov. 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can use any voting center in the county where you are registered.

    Voters will be required to stand at least 6 feet apart and the number of people inside voting centers will be limited.

    Voting centers will follow whatever the state guidelines are regarding masks at the time of voting. If Maryland is still under a mask order for indoor spaces, masks will be required.

    Provisional ballots on Election Day

    If you had previously requested a ballot via mail and later choose to vote in-person, you will be asked to vote a provisional ballot.

    Provisional votes can count, but they are set aside on Election Day. After scrutiny to make sure the voters who cast them are eligible, they are tabulated, although that happens late in the canvassing (starting Nov. 12 this year for the Nov. 3 election).



    Registering to vote

    Online or in person by Oct. 13

    You can register online to vote until Oct. 13 for the November election, or in person at a number of locations.

    Early voting or Election Day

    You can register to vote during early voting or on Election Day in the county where you live. Bring a document that proves where you live, including your MVA-issued license, ID card, or change of address card, your paycheck, bank statement, utility bill, or other government document with your name and new address.


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