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Campaign 2016

Politicsby Brew Editors8:25 amNov 8, 20160

Know your voting rights today

Hotline numbers, links and Q&A from the ACLU of Maryland

Above: Confidence in Maryland elections has been shaken with the announcement of an 80,000-person “glitch” on the eve of the primary. (Fern Shen)

Ay yi yi. Election Day is finally here, Baltimore.

The polls opened at 7 a.m. (or should have) and they will remain open until 8 p.m.

All kind of people may be “watching” the polls today: political parties, candidates, watchdog groups. The “Baltimore City Trump Campaign,” for example, has circulated online a precinct-by-precinct sign-up sheet for people to come monitor voting in the city.

If you are subjected to voter intimidation or harassment, here are some numbers to call.

Maryland State Board of Elections hotline: 800-222-8683
• Nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition: 866-687-8683
ACLU of Maryland election hotline: 410-889-8555
Baltimore City Board of Elections: 410-396-5574

To contact Baltimore Brew: editors@baltimorebrew.com or 410-802-4990

Here is some information from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland:

When are the polls open?
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You have the right to vote if you’re in line or inside your polling place when the polls close. (Md. Elec. Law § 10-301)

Can I get time off from work to vote?
Maybe. If your work schedule would prevent you from voting in person while the polls are open, you have the right to take time off from work (up to two hours must be paid time off) in order to vote. You should give your employer at least two working days’ notice of your need to take time off, and your employer probably has the right to specify which hours you get to take. (Md. Elec. Law § 10-315)

Where do I vote?
On Election Day, you have to vote at the polling place to which you’re assigned. Your assigned polling place will be listed on the voter registration card that you should receive in the mail when you register. If you don’t have your card, you can call your local board of elections or look up your polling place online at http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/where.html.

Can I take election materials with me into my polling place?
Yes. You can take written or printed election materials with you as long as they’re for your own use in casting your ballot. Examples include a sample ballot, a voter guide, or this card. But you’re not allowed to show or distribute these materials to anyone else within 100 feet of your polling place. You are allowed to wear campaign clothing, stickers, or buttons in your polling place. (Md. Elec. Law § 16-206)

If you vote in Baltimore City or Prince George’s County, election materials and ballots will be available in Spanish.
Even if assistance in your language isn’t available where you vote, you have the right to bring an interpreter with you to the polls or to get language assistance from anyone you choose, including a poll worker, as long as the person is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your labor union.

What if I need help in the voting booth?
If you need instructions on how to use the voting equipment, ask a poll worker for help. They are required to help you at any time you ask – even after you’ve entered the voting booth.


Do I have to show ID?
Probably not. Most voters won’t need to show ID at all. You ONLY need ID if:
(1) you’re a first-time voter in Maryland and (2) you registered to vote by mail and (3) you haven’t yet provided any identification to your local board of elections.

If you registered after January 1, 2006, you probably provided ID as part of the registration process.

What are the accepted forms of ID?
Accepted forms of ID include your social security card, a valid Maryland driver’s license, a valid state or federal ID card, a valid U.S. passport, a valid U.S. military ID card, a valid employee ID card (with photo), a valid student ID card (with
photo), and a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, pay check, or any other government document that shows your name and address.

Full list: http://www.elections.state.md.us/voter_registration/index.html

What if I don’t have any ID?
You can cast a provisional ballot. If you have time and have ID at home or work, it’s usually better to get your ID and return to the polls to cast a regular ballot. (Md. Elec. Law § 9-404, Md. Elec. Law § 10-312) Provisional ballots are counted regardless of whether they will change the outcome of the election. If you cast a provisional ballot at the wrong polling place, only the contests that appear on the ballot where you live will be counted.


What if I’m not on the voter list?
First, ask a poll worker to check the list again and to confirm that you’re at the right polling place for your address. If you’re at the right polling place but your name isn’t on the voter list, ask for a provisional ballot. You have the right to cast a provisional ballot, even if your name isn’t on the voter list, as long as you’re willing to swear or affirm that you believe you registered to vote.

What if I go to the wrong polling place?
Go to the right polling place. You can ask a poll worker to help you find the polling place where you’re registered. You can also call your local elections office or look up your polling place online at

If you can’t figure out where you’re registered, go the polling place that you think is most likely to be the right one for your address and ask for a provisional ballot. You have the right to cast a provisional ballot even if you’re not sure that you’re at the right polling place.

What if someone challenges my right to vote?
You can establish your identity by presenting your voter registration card, or any form of ID required of first-time voters. If you have ID, you’ll be able to cast a regular ballot. Otherwise, you might have to vote by provisional ballot. (Md. Elec. Law §10-312)

What if someone tries to intimidate or harass me?
Tell a poll worker right away. If the poll worker is the problem, tell a poll watcher, call your local board of elections, or call the ACLU of Maryland Election Protection hotline at 410-889-8555.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot or the voting machine malfunctions?
Tell a poll worker before you cast your ballot. Once you cast your ballot, it’s too late to change it. (Md. Code Regs. If your voting machine malfunctions, notify a poll worker immediately and request a different machine. If you make a mistake on a paper ballot, you have the right to up to two replacement ballots. (Md. Code Regs.

How do I make a complaint?
First, ask for an election supervisor at your polling place. He or she can handle most routine complaints that arise on Election Day. Candidates, political parties, and nonprofit groups may also have poll watchers at your polling place that might be able to assist you. If any of those people ask you whom you voted for, or if they can’t resolve your complaint, you can call:

Maryland State Board of Elections:
(800) 222-8683, http://www.elections.state.md.us

U.S. Department of Justice:
(800) 253-3931

ACLU of Maryland Election Protection:
(410) 889 -8555

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