Countdown To Election 2020: What You Need To Know | WYPR

Countdown To Election 2020: What You Need To Know

Oct 23, 2020

The 2020 Election is quickly approaching (Nov. 3.) Here's a rundown of dates, information, and resources to cast your ballot and make sure it's counted. 

Credit Jamyla Krempel

Learn about the candidates and issues
Credit NPR

Listen to Midday's Conversations with the Candidates series. 

Find local election coverage from the WYPR news team here

For national races, check out NPR's election coverage.

Watch the Oct. 22 virtual mayoral forum hosted by the NAACP Baltimore Branch and the AFRO here. Listen to Emily Sullivan's story on the forum here

Watch the Oct. 22 final presidential debate on the NPR Facebook page

Registering to vote and getting a mail-in ballot

The deadline for registering to vote online has passed (it was Oct. 13) but you can register in-person at a voting center during early voting (Oct. 26-Nov. 2) or on Election Day (Nov. 3.) Details about voter registration eligibility and verifying if you're registered here

The deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot online has passed (it was Oct. 20) but in an Oct. 19 Midday interview, Nikki Charlson, Deputy Administrator at the Maryland State Board of Elections, said if you missed the Oct. 20 deadline, "you can still get a mail-in ballot but you have to go to your local board of elections" between now and the election. 

Ways to vote

To slow the spread of the coronavirus, officials are urging Maryland residents to vote by mail, but you can vote in person if you need to, or if you choose to. 

Here are your options after you've filled out your ballot (and have signed the oath on the back of the envelope:) 

  • Mail it to your local election office. If you received your ballot by mail, postage is pre-paid! Ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 3.
  • Insert it in an official State of Maryland ballot drop box. List of locations here. The drop boxes look like this. Ballot boxes are open 24/7 and will be until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
  • Take it to your local election office. Many local boards are requiring appointments so call before you go. 
  • Vote in-person during early voting (Oct. 26- Nov. 2.) There will be more than 75 early voting centers.
  • Vote in-person on Election Day (Nov. 3.) There will be more than 300 Election Day voting centers

Voters can cast their ballot at any center in the county they live in, and Baltimore City residents can cast their ballot at any voting center within the city. You can find the polling place closest to your home here.

 Voting centers will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during early voting (including on weekends) and on Election Day.  

 

If you requested a mail-in ballot but want to vote in-person, you'll have to vote by provisional ballot. State election officials say voting a provisional ballot may take a little more time (because have to fill out a form and vote) so be prepared.

  

 

 

Safety precautions
Credit AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The State Board of Elections' Voter Guide includes some information on how the state will protect voters inside polling places. Measures include:

  • Limiting the number of people inside voting centers at one time.
  • Keeping voters six feet apart.
  • Requiring mask wearing. 

Election officials encourage residents to cast their vote during off-peak times (on weekends during early voting and between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Election Day.)

 

Problems at the polls

If you've encountered a problem while attempting to vote, such as:

  • A polling place is not open during advertised hours (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • You're prevented from voting even if you meet the voter eligibility requirements.
  • Intimidation or misinformation by election officials.

Please contact:

 

Connect with us

Get live updates from the polls and share your voting photos and insights with us:

Track your ballot

Follow this link and enter your information on the right. When you get to the "Voter Lookup" page, scroll down and click on "Status of My Mailed-in or Provisional Ballots." The State Board of Elections says it may take up to two weeks for status updates to be reported. 

Our friends at The Baltimore Sun published a helpful guide on deciphering the status of your mail-in ballot. 

Get the results

Midday host Tom Hall will anchor live Election Day coverage from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. Live NPR coverage will follow. Because of the amount of mail-in ballots received, we probably won't have complete election results on Nov. 3. 

You can watch the results come in on the Maryland State Board of Elections site (this link will be updated when results start coming in), in addition to NPR's Maryland elections results page

If you have questions not answered here, visit the FAQs on the Maryland State Board of Elections site, and check out our full voter guide below.