MARYLAND: VOTE BY MAIL FOR SECURE ELECTIONS IN 2020
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR MARYLAND ELECTIONS OFFICIALS
ABOUT THIS RESOURCE
Sightline’s state-by-state guides are designed to give local election officials and legislators the information they need to identify and take the most important steps to get ready for November. Each set of state-specific resources includes best practices and established models from around the country, including practical nuts and bolts advice for clerks, materials from election administrators with experience conducting all mail elections, and information about vendors and costs.
How Maryland is prepared for Vote By Mail
- Ballot tracking required by state law.
- Allows any voter to request an absentee ballot.
- Is a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).
- Uses voters’ signatures to verify ballots.
- Allows voters to register and request an absentee ballot online.
- Automatically registers voters and updates their addresses.
RECOMMENDED STEPS FOR SECURE ELECTIONS
Within each section, recommendations are arranged roughly in order of importance and ease of implementation.
For Local Election Officials
- Coordinate with USPS.
- Design ballots and envelopes that are easy to use.
- Implement robust signature verification.
- Provide secure drop boxes.
- Provide Election Day vote centers for in-person voting.
- Consider using a professional printer and ballot sorter.
- Count ballots at a secure centralized facility.
- Include a postage-prepaid return envelope.
- Invest in high-speed centralized equipment.
For Maryland’s Secretary of State
- Mail absentee application forms to all registered voters.
- Give voters sufficient opportunity to cure signature problems.
- Account for voters with nontraditional addresses.
- Give voters a “single sign-up” option.
- Allow counties to start processing envelopes early.
- Allow voters to request replacement ballots online.
- Allow early in-person voting options.
- Allow community organizations to collect and deliver sealed ballots.
Download the full Maryland action packet, with detailed information for each recommendation.
Maryland's Grade for Vote By Mail preparedness = B
Our grading system: We evaluated each state on 16 factors, covering access, administration efficiency, security, and infrastructure.
SEND THIS RESOURCE TO maryland’s secretary of state:
John Wobensmith, email@example.com
SEND THIS RESOURCE TO maryland’s administrator of elections:
Linda Lamone, Linda.Lamone@Maryland.gov
We welcome your questions and feedback. Email Kristin Eberhard, director of Sightline’s Democracy research program. Press inquires: Anna Fahey.
Photos: Vote By Mail in Maryland. Shutterstock.