Rumor Control for the 2016 Election
Security of Election Systems in Maryland
Rumor: Election systems are not secure.
Fact:We've read the recent news articles about the security of election systems and want to share how we secure Maryland's election systems. Simply put, Maryland's election systems are secure, have built-in redundancies, and have been subject to security testing.
We are now using a paper-based voting system. This means that there is a paper record of every vote cast, and these ballots can be retabulated if needed. The voting equipment is never connected to the Internet. The network used to generate official election results is never connected to the Internet. Physical access to the network is restricted and limited to election officials - all of whom have had a security background check - and all network transactions are logged. More information on the security features and practices for Maryland's voting system is available here.
We use other systems to administer the election process, but these systems are not part of the voting casting or counting process. Two frequently discussed systems are voter registration databases and online voter registration systems. The voter registration database is the system where voter registration information, voting history, absentee voting requests, and other data is stored. An online voter registration system is a web-based system voters use to submit a new voter registration application, submit updated voter registration information, or request an absentee ballot. While these systems are connected to the Internet, access is via a secure network, all data is encrypted, and the systems are continuously monitored and audited. More information on the security features and practices of Maryland's voter registration systems is available here.
Microsoft's Election Date
Rumor:Microsoft Office and Outlook tell me that Election Day is November 1, 2016.
Fact: Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Microsoft Office and Outlook have the wrong date!
A general election is held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In 2016, the first Monday in November is November 7, 2016, and the Tuesday after the first Monday is November 8, 2016.
Rumor: A college student can only register to vote at his or her parents' address.
Fact: A college student may register at his or her school address if the student considers the school address to be his or her “official” or “permanent” home. If you are a college student and do not not consider your parent’s home to be your home and do not intend to return there after school, your school address may be your residence. Before registering to vote at this address, please verify with the appropriate authority whether changing your residency impacts your eligibility for financial aid. Read more about this.
Absentee Ballot Request
Rumor: If you request an absentee ballot, you can vote in person.
Fact: You can vote in person, but you must vote a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will count if you do not also vote and return your absentee ballot.
Early Voting and Absentee Votes
Rumor: Early votes and absentee votes are not counted unless there is a tie in an election.
Fact: All votes cast during early voting are counted. All absentee ballots submitted on time with the required signature are counted even if they will not change the outcome of an election. Votes cast during early voting and by absentee ballot count just like votes cast on election day.
Early Voting Ballots
Rumor: If I vote during early voting, I will not receive the same ballot as the one I would receive on election day and therefore my ballot will not be counted.
Fact: You will receive the same ballot whether you are voting during early voting, on election day or by absentee ballot. Your ballot is always determined by your residential address.
Proof of Voting
Rumor: To prove you voted, you will get a second copy of the form you sign when you check in to vote.
Fact: Upon request, a pollworker will give you a form to prove that you voted, but the form will be different from the form you sign when you check in to vote. If you need proof that you voted, please ask a pollworker.
Rumor: Election judges will not post election results once the polls close.
Fact: During early voting, election results will not be posted. The local boards of elections will post these results after the polls close on election day.
Online Voting in Maryland
Rumor: Voters can submit voted ballots online.
FACT: Maryland law prohibits online voting. A voter who receives an absentee ballot from SBE's website must return the ballot by mail.