Voter Education: How to Vote Right Now

We’ve already talked a lot about voting in our Voter Education blog posts. We’ve covered voting rights in Maryland and how to educate yourself as a voter, providing resources so that you can make informed decisions and let your voice be heard. We’ve also talked about how to request a mail-in ballot and why mail-in ballots are just as accurate, and much more accessible, as voting at a polling place. As we get closer and closer to election day, we want to remind our community that voting makes you an Upstander. You are not standing by and acting passive during this time of extreme climate change, a global pandemic, and human rights violations. You have the right to choose who leads us during these crises, and what direction you want our world to move towards.

Of course,  as we’ve mentioned before, voter suppression is a real threat to many people, especially those who are people of color, living in poverty, or living in rural areas. Voter suppression is a huge issue that affects many and is a systemic issue that will take a huge amount of time and effort to fix. You can help fight this threat by helping others to register to vote, to request their mail-in ballots early, and to help them drop their ballots off to a polling center. You can also work with voter rights groups as they provide resources and volunteer to ensure that everyone accesses their right to vote. While these steps may seem small, they are still incredibly important.

As far as your own mail-in ballot goes, we encourage every Maryland voter to request their mail-in ballot today. In fact, right now, follow these steps to request your ballot:

1. Go to the Maryland Board of Elections webpage on mail-in voting.

2. Click on “How do I request a mail-in ballot?”

3. If you have your MD driver’s license or MVA-issued ID card, you can complete the form online using this link.

4. You can also complete and return one of the forms on the website, by mail, fax, or email. If you plan to fill out a form and mail it to your local board of elections, you should do that as soon as possible.

5. You can also go to your local board of elections to fill out and turn in a form. To find your local board of elections, you can visit this website.

Once you have filled out and returned the form, whether online, in the mail, or in person, you can check the status of your mail-in ballot by going to the Voter Lookup site. This site will ask you for your name, birthdate, and Zip Code, and then provide you with the status of your mail-in ballot application. This information is important for you to keep track of, so that you can plan accordingly.

When you do receive your mail-in ballot, follow the instructions on the ballot carefully. When you have finished completing the form, you can mail your ballot back.

However, because of the delays in the Postal Service at the moment, we strongly encourage you to hand deliver your ballot. You can do so by dropping it off at a voting location, a ballot drop off box, or your local board of elections. The mail-in voting webpage on the Maryland Board of Elections website will list these drop-off locations once the information is available. By hand delivering the ballot, you are ensuring that it will be counted in time for the election.

If that method is not available to you, however, you can still mail it. Just make sure your envelope is postmarked before November 3rd (election day). However, your ballot must be received by the local board of elections by November 13th, which is why we recommend you send it in the mail early or drop it off at a drop-off location.

Mail-in voting is safe, secure, and accurate. While these steps may seem like a lot, the Maryland Board of Elections website makes it as simple and easy as possible to request and receive your ballot. Even as the postal service faces changes and closures, both inside and outside of its control, voting by mail is an important tool for all voters in the US so that they can ensure that their voice is heard.


 

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