September 22, 2020

By: Maryam Shahzad

Read the full article here.

In Maryland, residents will receive applications to request a mail-in ballot to vote in the November 2020 general election.

Residents can also request a ballot to be delivered by mail, fax or electronically. Ballots must be completed by hand and delivered by mail or in-person. If you choose to receive an online ballot, you must download it from the state’s website and print it out.

At a Montgomery County Board of Elections meeting Monday, Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Montgomery), who represents Rockville and Gaithersburg, posed a specific question: What happens if someone makes more than one copy of their online ballot? She predicts online ballot requests will skyrocket closer to the election, especially because people are wary of the postal service. She offered a scenario in which someone forgets to request a ballot, so their roommate offers to photocopy an extra one for them.

“What happens when that comes in?” Kagan asked. She wondered how it would be determined which ballot is thrown out, if not both, and if it could be determined which one came from the requester.

The person scanning the ballot will need to make sure the name on it matches the name on the request. If a ballot does not have a name on it or if there is any other problem with names, it will be reviewed. When ballots are being canvassed, each “batch” has a list of names that should correspond to the envelopes in the batch. If anything doesn’t match up then election officials have to determine what’s missing.

Deputy Election Director Alysoun McLaughlin said when a voter requests a web-delivered ballot, they are asked to put information like a ballot tracking number on the envelope they send it off in. Election officials will look up the tracking number to see the request it corresponds with and make sure it matches with the name on the ballot. If it is the first ballot with that tracking number, it continues through the ballot process. If it is the second ballot to come in with the same tracking number, it will get flagged and if the first one has not been counted yet it will get pulled back as well. The two ballots would then be compared to see if it looks like the same person voting twice or two different voters.

If someone signs a ballot they didn’t request and they have no request on file, the Board of Elections will try to get in contact with them to tell them to request one by Election Day so they can count that ballot.