There are three ways you can request an absentee ballot.
The deadline depends on how you want to receive your blank ballot.
For the 2016 Primary Election, your request must be received (not just mailed) by:
- Tuesday, April 19, 2016, if you want to receive your ballot by mail or fax
- Friday, April 22, 2016, if you want to download your ballot from the State's website
For the 2016 General Election, your request must be received (not just mailed) by:
- Tuesday, November 1, 2016, if you want to receive your ballot by mail or fax
- Friday, Novemeber 4, 2016, if you want to download your ballot from the State's website
If you hand deliver your request and the ballots are ready, you can pick up your absentee ballot. You may take your absentee ballot with you and return it by mail or you can vote it at the local board office and give it to an election official. Please visit your local board of elections' website for hours of operation.
If you miss the deadline but still want to vote by absentee ballot, you or your agent must apply in person at your local board of elections. For more information about someone else picking up your ballot, see Can I have someone pick up my ballot? below.
Under the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, military voters and voters who live outside the U.S. can vote by absentee ballot. If you are a military voter or live outside of the U.S., learn more about absentee voting.
Note: Maryland does not have a permanent absentee list. If you wish to vote by absentee ballot, you must apply for an absentee ballot each primary and general election cycle.
You choose how you want to receive your absentee ballot. Election officials can mail or fax your ballot to you, or you can download your ballot from the State's website.
When you request a ballot, you pick how you want to receive your ballot. If you want to download your ballot, make sure you provide your email address.
Ballots are sent or posted to the website about 3 weeks before an election. If you want to download your ballot, we will send you an email when your ballot is ready. The email will include a link where you can print your ballot and instructions.
There are instructions with your ballot. Please review the instructions carefully before starting to vote.
If you received your ballot by mail or fax, you need a No. 2 pencil to vote. Review your ballot before voting as your ballot may be multiple pages. Carefully fill in the oval to the left of your choice, and do not vote for more candidates than the number specified in the contest heading. If you wish, you may vote for fewer candidates than specified.
If you download your ballot from the State's website, you can print the blank ballot and mark your ballot by hand.
Do not sign your name or make any other mark on your ballot.
Write-in voting is only allowed in general elections. A general election ballot has spaces for write-in votes. To cast a write-in vote by hand, fill in the oval to the left of the space for the write-in vote, and write the first and last names of the person in the appropriate space.
You must mail or hand deliver your absentee ballot to your local board of elections. You cannot email or fax your voted absentee ballot or take your voted ballot to an early voting center or a polling place.
You must mail or hand deliver your voted ballot. You cannot submit your voted ballot online, return it by email or fax, or take it to an early voting center or a polling place.
If you hand deliver your ballot, you must deliver it to your local board of elections by 8 pm on election day.
If you mail your ballot, the envelope must be postmarked on or before election day and received by your local board of elections by 10 am on May 6, 2016 (primary election) or November 18, 2016 (general election).
If you have specific questions, please contact your local board of elections or the State Board of Elections.
Yes, if you have a disability or are unable to read or write, you may have help requesting an absentee ballot and voting. Any person can help you except:
- A candidate on your ballot;
- Your employer or an agent of your employer; or
- An officer or agent of your union.
If you need help completing the absentee ballot application, someone can help you with Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the application and must complete Part 4. If you cannot sign the application, the person helping you should print your name in Part 3 and write his or her initials after your name.
If you need help voting your ballot, the person helping you must mark the ballot according to your wishes and cannot make an effort to influence your vote. This person must also complete the Certification of Person Assisting Absentee Voter (provided with your absentee ballot). This certification must be returned with your voted ballot.
Contact your local board of elections for more information on this process.
...I haven't received my absentee ballot?
Absentee ballots are typically mailed or available for download about 3 weeks before an election.
If you requested an absentee ballot but have not received it, verify on the voter look-up website that your absentee ballot application was processed and the status of your absentee ballot.
- If there is no record of your absentee request, submit another request. If you have a Maryland drivers license or MVA ID card, the quickest way to submit a request is via the online request system (coming fall 2013).
- If the website shows that your request has been processed and the ballot has been sent, wait a few days. Your ballot may be in transit. If the election is one week away and you havent received your ballot, please contact your local board of elections. A representative of your local board can help you.
...my ballot is damaged or I made a mistake on my ballot?
If you received your ballot by mail or fax, contact your local board of elections, and request a replacement ballot.
If you downloaded your ballot, log back into the website. If you made your selections in the system, make your selections again and print the ballot. (We do not save your marked ballot, so you must make your selections again.) If you printed a blank ballot and marked your ballot by hand, print another ballot and mark the ballot.