Rumor Control for the 2018 Election
Absentee and Provisional Ballots
Rumor: Absentee ballots and provisional ballots only count if the election is close.
Fact: Absentee ballot and provisional ballots are always counted, even if they do not change the outcome of an election. You can learn more about absentee voting and provisional voting on our website.
Taking Pictures or Recording Videos
Rumor: I can take pictures or record a video in a voting room.
Fact: No. Under State law, voters can't take pictures or record a video in a voting room. Voters are not allowed to use electronic devices - including phones or tablets - in a voting room.
Changing Your Mind?
Rumor: I already voted but changed my mind. I can vote again.
Fact: Once you have cast your ballot, you can't vote again. Voting more than once violates State law.
If you vote again, you will have to vote a provisional ballot. This ballot will not be counted because you have already voted and you will be referred to an law enforcement agency for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Rumor: When I vote, I get a receipt or confirmation of my vote.
Fact: To preserve the secrecy of your vote, you will not get a receipt or confirmation of your vote.
Before scanning your paper ballot, review your ballot. Make sure you voted for all of the contests you want to vote for and are satisfied with your selections.
If you are happy with your selections, scan your ballot into the scanning unit. When the scanning unit has counted your ballot, you will see "thank you for voting" message. If the scanning unit can't read your ballot for some reason, the unit will return the ballot and provide instructions on the screen. You can also check that the scanning unit has counted your ballot by looking at the counter on the scanning unit's screen. Look at the count before and after you scan your ballot. You see the count go up by one. This means that the scanning unit has counted your ballot.
Each scanner is tested before the election. After local election officials have verified that the scanners counts properly, the scanner is locked and sealed. Before voting begins, election officials verify the seal and open the scanner.
Security of Election Systems in Maryland
Rumor: Election systems are not secure.
Fact: We've read the recent news articles about the security of election systems and want to share how we secure Maryland's election systems. Simply put, Maryland's election systems are secure, have built-in redundancies, and have been subject to security testing.
We are now using a paper-based voting system. This means that there is a paper record of every vote cast, and these ballots can be retabulated if needed. The voting equipment is never connected to the Internet. The network used to generate official election results is never connected to the Internet. Physical access to the network is restricted and limited to election officials - all of whom have had a security background check - and all network transactions are logged. More information on the security features and practices for Maryland's voting system is available here.
We use other systems to administer the election process, but these systems are not part of the voting casting or counting process. Two frequently discussed systems are voter registration databases and online voter registration systems. The voter registration database is the system where voter registration information, voting history, absentee voting requests, and other data is stored. An online voter registration system is a web-based system voters use to submit a new voter registration application, submit updated voter registration information, or request an absentee ballot. While these systems are connected to the Internet, access is via a secure network, all data is encrypted, and the systems are continuously monitored and audited. More information on the security features and practices of Maryland's voter registration systems is available here.
Rumor: I voted for Candidate A, but my vote flipped to Candidate B.
Fact: Most voters in Maryland will use a paper ballot to vote. With paper ballots, a vote for Candidate A cannot "flip" to Candidate B.
Some voters will use the accessible ballot marking device to make selections and print a paper ballot. Each device is tested before election day, and the test includes checking that the device's screen is properly calibrated.
Rumor: A college student can only register to vote at his or her parents' address.
Fact: A college student may register at his or her school address if the student considers the school address to be his or her “official” or “permanent” home. If you are a college student and do not not consider your parent’s home to be your home and do not intend to return there after school, your school address may be your residence. Before registering to vote at this address, please verify with the appropriate authority whether changing your residency impacts your eligibility for financial aid. Read more about this.
Absentee Ballot Request
Rumor: If you request an absentee ballot, you can vote in person.
Fact: You can vote in person, but you must vote a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will count if you do not also vote and return your absentee ballot.
Early Voting and Absentee Votes
Rumor: Early votes and absentee votes are not counted unless there is a tie in an election.
Fact: All votes cast during early voting are counted. All absentee ballots submitted on time with the required signature are counted even if they will not change the outcome of an election. Votes cast during early voting and by absentee ballot count just like votes cast on election day.
Early Voting Ballots
Rumor: If I vote during early voting, I will not receive the same ballot as the one I would receive on election day and therefore my ballot will not be counted.
Fact: You will receive the same ballot whether you are voting during early voting, on election day or by absentee ballot. Your ballot is always determined by your residential address.
Proof of Voting
Rumor: To prove you voted, you will get a second copy of the form you sign when you check in to vote.
Fact: Upon request, a pollworker will give you a form to prove that you voted, but the form will be different from the form you sign when you check in to vote. If you need proof that you voted, please ask a pollworker.
Rumor: Election judges will not post election results once the polls close.
Fact: During early voting, election results will not be posted. The local boards of elections will post these results after the polls close on election day.
Online Voting in Maryland
Rumor: Voters can submit voted ballots online.
FACT: Maryland law prohibits online voting. A voter who receives an absentee ballot from SBE's website must return the ballot by mail.