Voting in Maryland, as it is everywhere in a thriving democracy, is a critically important civic action. To vote in a Maryland election, you must register 21 days prior to the general election or primary. Voters cast their ballots at their local polling place, which is listed on the Voter Notification Card they received after registering.
The Maryland Elections Center is a great online resource where you can:
- Check if you are registered to vote
- Find your polling place
- See your sample ballot (when available)
- Get your absentee ballot(only if you asked to receive it electronically)
- Check on the status of your absentee or provisional ballot
Poll Hours and Rules
Maryland polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. If you are in line at the polls at 8 p.m., you will be permitted to vote.
Children are permitted inside the voting booth, and voters may bring newspapers or other printed material inside as well.
Voters may write-in candidates in the general election but not the primary. Ask the election judge for instructions if you wish to write in a candidate.
Marylanders may request help in voting from an election judge or may bring someone to assist them in voting. However, the person assisting may not be their employer, an agent of their employer or an officer or agent of their union.
You do not need to have your voter ID card with you in order to vote. However, it is suggested that you bring some form of identification to the poll in case it is requested by an election judge.
While showing identification at the polling place is not necessary for most voters, some Maryland voters do need to show ID. They include first time voters in Maryland, some who registered to vote by mail and those voters who received a notice from their local board of elections asking for further verification of their voter registration application.
Acceptable ID includes:
- Maryland driver's license number or MVA ID card number or at least the last four digits or your Social Security number. This must be verified through a government agency.
- Current, valid photo ID such as a Maryland driver's license, MVA ID card, student, employee, or military ID card, U.S. passport or other state or federal government ID card.
- Current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and address
Maryland's primary elections are usually closed, meaning that only voters affiliated with a party may vote in that party's primary. So independent voters and voters registered in a party that does not have a primary may not vote in another party's primary. However, in 2000 the Maryland Republican Party held an open primary.
The deadline to change from one party to another or to change to or from unaffiliated or independent status is 9 p.m. on the Monday 12 weeks prior to the primary election. This does not apply to voters who have moved from one Maryland jurisdiction to another since the last general election. These voters have until three weeks before the primary.
Maryland's presidential election primaries are held the second Tuesday in February.