VOTING 2020- REGISTRATION & INFORMATION

Reforming Baltimore’s Mayoral Elections: Could it Increase Electoral Competition, Raise Participation, and Improve Political Representation? by Christopher Warshaw

No Ballot - What do I do now?

Attn: Baltimore City Voters:
If you have already received your ballot, please complete it, sign it, and return it by mail or return it to a drop box:  
Mail-In Voting
Fill out your ballot using a black pen, sign the oath on the return envelope, and mail it back by June 2.  Make sure your ballot is postmarked by June 2.  Any ballots postmarked after June 2 will not be counted. 
Drop Box Voting
Instead of mailing your ballot, you have the option to drop it in a secure ballot drop box between May 21-June 2. There are several drop-box locations throughout Baltimore City.  Click here to see the list of drop-box locations. All ballots must be in the drop box by 8 pm on June 2.    
 
Attn: Baltimore City Voters:
If you have NOT received your ballot, you have two options:  Request an email ballot by May 29th or go vote in person.  
Request a ballot be emailed to you 

To request a ballot to be emailed to you, click here. If you request an email ballot, you will need access to a printer. If you choose to print and mail your ballot, you must provide your own envelope and stamp. Remember to postmark your ballot by or before June 2nd

Email ballots may be dropped off at a designated drop-off location. All drop-off locations are listed here. To have your ballot counted, it must be dropped off by Tuesday, June 2nd at 8 PM.

 
In-Person Voting
Voters may go to a vote center and vote in-person.  In-person voting will be available on June 2 from 7 am to 8 pm.  There are 6 voting centers throughout Baltimore City.  Persons who are not registered and want to vote, may register and vote at any of the voting centers with valid identification. Click here to see the list of voting centers.     

 

BALTIMORE CITY BALLOT DROP-OFF BOX LOCATIONS

PRIMARY VOTE CENTERS

Baltimore City Board of Elections

Voter Information

Click Here to Check Your Voter Status!

This "Voter Lookup" system will enable you to check your voter status. It will also assist you in updating your information if you recently changed your address or name. You can easily change your party affiliation and more!

2020 PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY VOTE CENTERS

Limited in-person voting will also be available on June 2, 2020, but this is intended for use by voters who are unable to return their mailed ballots or who never received their ballots.  Due to the risk posed by COVID-19, please do not use the in-person voting centers if you are able to mark and return your ballot by mail or at a ballot drop-off location. 

There will be six in-person voting centers in Baltimore City.  They will be open on June 2, 2020, only, from 7:00, am to 8:00 pm.  They are located at:

  • Edmondson High School, 501 N Athol Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21229
  • University of Maryland at Baltimore Community Engagement Center, 870 W Baltimore Street, MD 21201
  • Mount Pleasant Church & Ministries, 6000 Radecke Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21206
  • Dr. Carter G. Woodson School #160, 2501 Seabury Road, Baltimore, MD 21225
  • Northwood Elementary School, 5201 Loch Raven Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21239
  • Northwestern High School, 6900 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215

There will also be ballot drop-off boxes at those six locations.  And an additional 15 ballot drop-off boxes at the locations listed below.
Click to view additional locations:
ADDITIONAL BALLOT DROP-OFF BOX LOCATIONS

Ballot drop-off boxes will be open 24/7 beginning on May 21, 2020, or May 30, 2020, through 8:00 pm on Election Day.  As a reminder, the oath on the back of the return envelope must still be signed if you are using a ballot drop-off box.

Please check our website and the Maryland State Board of Elections website regularly for updates.  And make sure your ballot is postmarked on or before June 2, 2020!

Want your mail-in vote to count, Maryland? Here are some lessons you should learn from the special election in the 7th Congressional District. | COMMENTARY

Bill Bramhall's editorial cartoon for Wednesday, April 8, 2020, as more people may have to turn to absentee ballots during the 2020 election amid coronavirus outbreak.
Bill Bramhall's editorial cartoon for Wednesday, April 8, 2020, as more people may have to turn to absentee ballots during the 2020 election amid coronavirus outbreak.(Bill Bramhall/New York Daily News)

For a special election, especially one occurring via mail-in ballots amid a pandemic, some things went surprisingly well in last month’s 7th Congressional District vote. Overall turnout was relatively strong at about 32%, compared to just 8% the last time a special election was held for that position — in 1996, when Elijah Cummings was running to take over the seat, which at the time had been vacated by Kweisi Mfume, instead of the other way around. And fewer than 1% of people voted in person (1,009 to be exact; five of them so they could take advantage of same-day registration) out of the 157,075 voters whose ballots had been counted as of Tuesday afternoon.

Those factors appear to bode well for next month’s statewide primary election, both in terms of participation and coronavirus containment. But a deeper look at preliminary data from District 7, which covers parts of Baltimore City and Baltimore and Howard counties, reveals areas of concern that need addressing to ensure most of those who want to vote can.

Of the ballots sent out to the district’s nearly half a million eligible voters, at least 28,608 never made it to their intended recipients, largely because the addresses on file were out of date, according to hand counts of returned ballots performed by the three local elections boards in the district. (The State Board of Elections asked for the counts after learning through inquiries from us that the U.S. Postal Service data they were relying on was way off, both in the number of returned ballots and their supposed destinations.)

In the city alone, more than 20,000 ballots were returned as undeliverable; that’s nearly 10% of the eligible voters registered in Baltimore. Some of them may have moved out of the district, of course, but many are likely just in a new place nearby, and because they didn’t update their address with the elections board, they never got a chance to cast a ballot — at least not from a safe, social distance.

That’s of particular concern, given that the city is already in an underdog position when it comes to elections held by mail. A 2011 study sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that urban voters are 50% less likely to vote in a mandatory mail election, and the participation numbers seen here seem to bear that out. In the special election, turnout in Baltimore City was far lower than the counties: 25% compared with 38%. It was also low for the primary on Feb. 4 — way back in pre-pandemic times, when in-person voting was the norm — but the difference was less pronounced: 19% of eligible city voters cast a ballot then, compared with 23% for Baltimore County and 25% for Howard.

The good news is that the same Pew study also found that outreach (at least four separate communications) can overcome some of the negative effects of mandatory mail-in voting for urban voters. And this week, the State Board of Elections launched a $1.1 million education campaign aimed at getting the word out about how, when and where to vote. Elections officials plan to target radio, TV, online news, and social media sites with advertising and information through the effort, which is roughly 30 times larger than the $37,000 initiative undertaken for the 7th District special election.

The bad news is that there’s very little that can be done now to deal with the address issue. The ballots for the June 2 primary have already gone out (Baltimore City’s were mailed Friday).

“It’s a problem,” Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator for the State Board of Elections, acknowledged.

In states where vote-by-mail is frequently used, elections boards will proactively send out interim mailings to try to find the bad addresses before ballots go out, but there wasn’t time to do that here. And so, if primary ballots come back to local elections boards, workers there will try to update the addresses and send out new ballots before June 2, but they only have so much capacity to do that. And if ballots come back at the same rate as they did in the city in the 7th District race — forget about it. So many came back then, that mail carriers would bring them to the Baltimore City Board of Elections in trays, 10 to 15 at a time, said Baltimore Elections Director Armstead B.C. Jones Sr.

If your address is wrong in the system, you can take action on your own to correct it and request a new ballot; the sooner the better. If you’re not sure, you can look it up and make any necessary changes here: voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch or by calling 410-269-2840.

There are also a few things voters who do receive their ballots can do to ensure each is counted. First, send it back on time — postmarked by June 2. More than 1,500 Baltimore City ballots in the 7th District special election were returned too late, according to Mr. Jones. (Note to those without a flag to raise on your mailbox: You can still leave outgoing mail there; your letter carrier will pick it up.)

Don’t forget to sign and date the oath on the envelope (at least 124 people didn’t do that in the city); don’t worry about postage (none is required); and don’t fail to update your address because you don’t want to be called for jury duty in the city (it happens, Mr. Jones said).

The elections boards have made some mistakes too, notably by putting the wrong date on the primary ballots (they read April 28, which was the date Maryland had originally planned to hold the primary, before coronavirus disrupted daily life) and by accidentally sending a segment of voters in Prince George’s County directions in Spanish only.

Linda Lamone, administrator for the State Board of Elections, says she and her staff and members of the local elections boards are talking nearly every day to “figure out how to do things” and learn from the 7th District results. They’ve also reached out to other states for their best practices.

Given the stakes — our very democracy — we certainly hope they’re doing every last thing they can think of.

The Baltimore Sun editorial board — made up of Opinion Editor Tricia Bishop, Deputy Editor Andrea K. McDaniels and writer Peter Jensen — offers opinions and analysis on news and issues relevant to readers. It is separate from the newsroom.

Want Your Absentee Vote To Count? Don't Make These Mistakes

'Don't forget to sign your mail ballot envelope IN 2020 - FAILURE TO DO SUCH VOIDS YOUR BALLOT'

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