President Donald Trump has said, “This is the most important election in the history of our country,” and, depending on the person to whom you speak, it is.
There certainly is much at stake based on the outcome of voting Nov. 3 or in advance of that date, just as there have been consequences as the result of balloting each election cycle since Uncle Sam was in diapers. Representative government is meaningful by its nature, from local seats to the highest office in the land, allowing citizens with varying backgrounds and viewpoints to decide who their leaders will be.
Many Americans are proud to say they have never missed an election, their little “I Voted” sticker worn like a badge of honor — while others keep finding excuses not to sign up and exercise their right/privilege/civic duty. It’s relatively easy. It’s very important. And the window of opportunity is slowly but steadily closing.
The deadline for Maryland residents to register in advance to vote in the 2020 General Election was Tuesday, Oct. 13, which was also the last chance to update voter information.
But they will also have the opportunity to register in person during eight days of early voting — Oct. 26 to Nov. 2 — and on Election Day.
To register and vote during early voting or on Election Day, an individual must be eligible to vote in Maryland, go to a vote center in the jurisdiction where he or she lives, and bring a document proving residency. The documents that prove residency are a Motor Vehicle Administration-issued driver’s license, ID card, or change of address card, or a paycheck, bank statement, utility bill, or other government document with an individual’s name and current address.
Because a significant number of voters are voting by mail, a complete count of votes will not be available on Election Day. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked no later than Nov. 3; however, properly submitted ballots will be accepted until Nov. 13.
After Election Day, updated results will be released each day that ballots are counted. Not all counties may count ballots every day, but updates will be provided every day that ballots are counted. Counting of provisional ballots will start on the second Thursday after the election. Those results will be announced when they are counted.
The Maryland State Board of Elections began sending ballots to state voters in late September. Ballots will continue to be sent to voters via U.S. mail as ballot applications are received and processed. Applications for mail-in ballots must be received by Oct. 20.
Each Maryland jurisdiction will have at least two ballot drop box locations available to voters. Voters can submit their completed mail-in ballots in any drop box located in their jurisdiction of residence. Once open, drop boxes will remain open until Election Day, Nov. 3, at 8 p.m. In all, 282 ballot drop boxes will be available at 281 locations around the state.
If you haven’t yet registered, do so as soon as possible and follow through with it. It’s the American way.