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ANNAPOLIS (Oct. 28, 2020) – The Maryland State Board of Elections today advised voters who have received or requested a mail-in ballot but have not yet returned it to utilize an authorized ballot drop box to return their voted ballots. As reports mount of delayed mail delivery nationwide, drop boxes remain a safe, convenient and reliable way for voters to cast their ballots during the pandemic.
In Maryland, ballots submitted via U.S. mail and postmarked no later than November 3 will be accepted until November 13; therefore, mail-in ballots that have already been submitted via U.S. Mail are expected to arrive in plenty of time to count. Moving forward, voters can be assured their properly completed ballots will count if submitted at an authorized ballot drop box before 8 p.m. on November 3.
“While we don’t anticipate any issue with ballots already cast by mail, we are closely monitoring reports from the United States Postal Service that delivery times continue to be considerably longer than normal,” said Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone. “In light of this, as we approach Election Day, we encourage voters to drop off their ballot at an authorized drop box. This will allow them to be confident their vote will be received and counted in a timely fashion.”
Voters may drop off their mail-in ballots sealed in the return envelope that accompanies the ballot at any authorized ballot drop box location in their county of residence. Voters are reminded to sign the oath that accompanies the ballot. A complete list of drop box locations is available online here.
Ballot drop boxes are located outside every early voting center in the state. Voters who choose to use drop boxes do not have to wait in early voting lines in order to submit their ballots.
Once open, all ballot drop boxes will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. Each drop box is under 24/7 security and surveillance to protect against tampering or vandalism. Ballots are collected daily by sworn election officials and taken directly to authorized canvassing locations to maintain a chain of custody and ensure proper processing.
In all, 284 ballot drop boxes will be available at 283 locations around the state. Two ballot drop boxes are available at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Individual ballot box locations were proposed by the local boards of election across the state.
Voters should be aware that all ballot drop boxes are equipped with a padlock that holds the ballot deposit slot open. Voters should not assume a drop box is “closed” due to the presence of a padlock.
The following image depicts a lock holding the ballot deposit slot open and the proper way to insert a ballot into the drop box:
“Using ballot drop boxes is a safe and convenient way to exercise your right to vote,” Lamone said. “Because the drop boxes remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, voters can cast their ballots at whatever time is most convenient for them. Since ballots are collected daily, voters can also rest assured their vote will be received and counted by the deadline.”