The Maryland State Board of Elections (SBE) today announced the ballot counting schedule for the November 3 presidential election and launched a webpage that will allow voters and journalists covering the election to see daily updates on the number of mail-in ballots that have been received across the state.
While canvassing of ballots — which includes the opening and counting of ballots — is underway in some counties, results of ongoing canvassing will be embargoed until vote centers close on Election Day. Once the polls close, SBE will release results from early voting (Oct. 26 to Nov. 2) and results from mail-in ballots counted prior to Election Day.
According to a press release:
It is important for members of the public and the media to understand that, because the general election in Maryland is being conducted primarily by mail, a complete count of voters will not be available on Election Day. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked no later than Nov. 3; however, properly submitted ballots will be accepted until Nov. 13.
After Election Day, updated results will be released each day that ballots are counted. Not all counties may count ballots every day, but updates will be provided every day that ballots are counted. Counting of provisional ballots will start on the second Thursday after the election. These results will be announced when they are counted.
The Maryland State Board of Elections began sending ballots to state voters in late September. Ballots will continue to be sent to voters via U.S. Mail as ballot applications are received and processed. Applications for mail-in ballots must be received by Oct. 20.
While voters may request that their ballot via email, requesting a ballot by U.S. mail is free, more convenient, and will save time and money for local boards of elections, whose operations are supported by county funding. When a ballot is sent to a voter through the U.S. Mail, the voter only needs to fill out the ballot, sign and seal the envelope, and return it in the postage-paid return envelope at their earliest convenience.
On the contrary, when a ballot is sent to a voter by email, the voter must print the ballot, fill out the ballot, secure an envelope, and pay for postage. Local election officials are also required to copy any ballot printed on standard paper onto an official ballot to be scanned and counted.
While state and local election officials are urging residents to vote by mail, SBE last month published a list of early voting and election day voting locations for Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City.
Early voting will be held from Monday, October 26, 2020, through Monday, November 2, 2020. Early voting and Election Day voting centers will be open from 7 am to 8 pm. Eligible voters may cast their ballots at any authorized voting location within their jurisdiction of residence.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.