How to Vote in Maryland

Voter Registration (frequently asked questions)

When are the polls open?

Primary Elections (frequently asked questions)

Absentee Voting

To Vote you must Register

Who may apply to register to vote?
Any U.S. Citizen who

*INFAMOUS CRIME means any felony, treason, perjury, or any crime involving an element of deceit, fraud, or corruption.

When may I apply to register to vote?
Voter registration applications may be submitted to your local (County or Baltimore City) board of elections or the State Board of Elections year round.  However, no registration will be processed during the periods:

Where may I apply to register to vote?
You may complete a voter registration application in person at your local board of elections office or the State Board of Elections.  Voter registration applications are also available throughout Maryland at State agencies, such as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Social Services, the Motor Vehicle Administration, Offices on Aging, and all public institutions of higher education.

May I apply to register to vote by mail?
You may contact any local board of elections to request an application.  You may print an application from the State Board of Elections website at or use the State Board's 24-hour toll-free telephone number 1-800-222-8683, and select Option #3 from the main menu (leave your name, mailing address, and telephone number).  The completed voter registration application may be mailed or delivered in person to your local board of elections or the State Board of Elections.

When am I registered to vote?
You are considered a registered voter when you receive your voter notification card from your local board of elections.  If you do not receive your card within three weeks, you should contact the local board of elections.

Do I have to Register for each election?
No. Registration is permanent, as long as you continue to live in Maryland and keep your name and address current with your local board of elections.

What should I do if I have changed my address or my name since the last election?
You must notify the local board of elections where you currently live if there are any changes to your voter registration information. Changes in registration information may be sent to your local board of elections either on a voter registration application or in any other signed written notice.

What should I do if I move to another county within the State or across the Baltimore City Line?
You should provide your new address to the local board of elections in your new jurisdiction.

If I am a U.S. citizen living overseas, may I register and vote in Maryland?
Yes.  An overseas U.S. citizen, whose last residence address in this county was in Maryland, may register to vote, and may request an absentee ballot, using the Federal Post Card Application.  The overseas citizen may vote in federal contests, but not in state and local contests.  For registration by mail, either the Federal Post Card Application or a Maryland voter registration application must be postmarked at least 21 days before the election.

Make your voice count! Register, then Vote.

When are the polls open?
Throughout Maryland, polls are open continuously from 7 AM to 8 PM on Election Day. If you are in line when the polls close, you will be permitted to vote.

Where will I vote?
After you are registered you will receive by mail a Voter Notification Card, which will indicate your precinct number and polling place. You may only vote at the polling place and precinct indicated on your Voter Notification Card.  Keep your Voter Notification Card as a reminder.

How will I cast my ballot?
You will cast your vote on a voting system certified for use in Maryland.  A diagram or specimen ballot will be available at the polling place to familiarize you with the ballot.  You may ask an election judge to demonstrate the voting system for you, but unless you are unable to do so, you alone must cast your vote. 

If you are visually impaired, otherwise physically disabled, or unable to, you may select someone to assist you.  By law, your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your union is not allowed to assist you.  An election judge may assist you, but only in the presence of another election judge of a different political party.

Voting in Primary Elections.

What is a Party Primary?
The two principal political parties are required by law to choose their candidates for the General Election in Party Primary Elections. Although it is up to the parties to decide who may vote in their primaries, generally only registered voters affiliated with a principal political party may vote in that party's primary.

How can I vote in a Party primary?
Generally, you must be registered with a party to take part in the party's primary.

May I change Parties?
Yes. except during the 12 weeks before the primary.  You may submit a new voter registration application or a written request to change your voter registration to your local board of elections.

Suppose I don't wish to affiliate with a party?
If you do not choose a party, you will be recorded as a "Decline." You will generally not be able to vote in Party Primaries, but you will be able to vote in any nonpartisan primary held in your jurisdiction, such as a primary to select nominees for the board of education.

If I apply to register before my 18th birthday and the Party Primary comes before that birthday, what then?
If you will be 18 by the General Election, you may vote in the primary that precedes it even if you are under 18.

Can't get to the polls! Vote by Absentee Ballot.

Who may vote by Absentee Ballot?
A qualified absentee voter is someone who cannot get to his/her assigned polling place on Election Day. This may be due to an illness, disability, confinement or restriction to an institution, or absence from the county or Baltimore City where the voter is registered. U.S. citizens who live outside the United States and whose last residence address in this country was in Maryland may also vote in Maryland (in federal contests only) by absentee ballot. A voter may also qualify to designate an agent to obtain and return the voter's absentee ballot. For more information, the voter should contact his/her local board of elections.

How do I get an Absentee Ballot?
You must apply in writing for an absentee ballot. An application may be obtained by telephone, written request, or in person at your local board of elections or through the State Board of Elections website at:
You must apply for an absentee ballot at least 7 days before an election. When your application is processed and you are determined to be qualified, an absentee ballot will be mailed to you

How do I cast an Absentee Ballot?
Follow the instructions enclosed with the ballot and return it your local board of elections.

What if I have a last minute problem and cannot get to my assigned polling place to vote?

If you are already registered to vote and if you fall into one of the following categories, you, or an agent authorized by you, may apply in person for an absentee ballot at your local board of elections after the absentee ballot application deadline:




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This page last edited on: 03/04/03