Mail-in Voting: Information and Instructions for the 2024 Elections
Important Note: The law requires the State Board of Elections and each local board of elections to refer to absentee ballots as "mail-in ballots" and absentee voting as "mail-in voting." Please note that this change in terminology does NOT change the process of mail-in voting.
Who may vote by mail-in ballot?
Any registered voter may vote by mail-in ballot. You don't need a reason to vote by mail-in ballot. It's another way to vote if you don't want to or can't go to an early voting center or your polling place.
If you do not know if you are registered to vote, use our Voter Look-up to find out. If you are not registered to vote, find out how to register to vote.
How do I request a mail-in ballot?
2024 Presidential Primary and General Elections
There are three ways you can request a mail-in ballot.
- Online if you have a Maryland’s driver’s license or MVA-issued ID card.
- Complete and return one of the forms below. Read the instructions, enter the required information, print the form, sign it, and return it to your local board of elections. You can return it by mail, fax, or email (scanned as an attachment).
- Mail-in ballot application for 2024 elections (PDF) (Application Coming Soon)
- Solicitud de Papeleta de Votante Ausente para las Elecciones del 2024 (PDF) (Application Coming Soon)
- When the form is ready, go to your local board of elections and fill it out and turn in the form. We expect the form to be ready mid-2023.
If you want to get a mail-in ballot for all future elections, you can sign up for the permanent mail-in ballot list when you request a mail-in ballot. Once you are on this list, we will send you your mail-in ballot for each future election you are eligible to vote in. You won't have to submit a request for each election.
About the Permanent Mail-In Ballot List
All Maryland voters may request a mail-in ballot.
If you always want to get and vote a mail-in ballot, you can sign up for the permanent mail-in ballot list. Once you are on this list, we will send you your mail-in ballot for each future election you are eligible to vote in. You won't have to submit a request for each election. If you want to vote during early voting or on election day, please don’t sign up for this.
You can use this website to request to be added to the permanent mail-in ballot list. Or you can use these forms:
- English (PDF) - (PDF Application Coming Soon)
- Spanish (PDF) - (PDF Application Coming Soon)
What is the deadline to request a mail-in ballot?
2024 Presidential Primary Election
The deadline depends on how you want to receive your ballot.
- If you want to receive your ballot by mail or fax, your request must be received (not just mailed) by Tuesday, April 16, 2024.
- If you want to receive your ballot via the internet,* your request must be received by 5 pm, Friday, April 19, 2024 for a request sent in the mail, or by 11:59 pm, Friday, April 19, 2024 for a request sent by fax or submitted online.
- If you hand deliver your request and the ballots are ready, you can pick up your mail-in ballot. You may take your mail-in ballot with you and return it by mail or you can vote it at the local board office and give it to an election official. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot in person is election day, April 23, 2024. Please visit your local board of elections' website for hours of operation.
- If you miss the deadlines to receive your ballot by mail, fax, or via the internet, but still want to vote by mail-in ballot, you or your agent must apply in person at your local board of elections. For more information about someone else picking up your ballot, see “Can I have someone pick up my ballot?” below.
*Please note that a ballot received via the internet must still be returned by hand, by mail, or dropped at a ballot drop off box.
Under the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens mail-in Voting Act, military voters and voters who live outside the U.S. can vote by mail-in ballot. If you are a military voter or live outside of the U.S., learn more about mail-in voting.
How do I know if my request for a ballot was received and processed?
Visit the voter look-up website to verify if your local board of elections received your request for a ballot and the status of your mail-in ballot. If you have more questions, please contact your local board of elections.
Can I have someone pick up my ballot?
Yes. You can designate someone to be your agent. This person will take your completed mail-in ballot application to your local board of elections, pick up your ballot, and deliver it to you. To get your ballot this way, you and your agent must complete the Mail-in Ballot: Designation of Agent Form (Papeleta de Votante Ausente: Formulario para Designar un Representante). This form can also be obtained from your local board of elections.
How will I receive my mail-in ballot?
You decide how you want to receive your ballot. You can receive it:
- By mail. We can send it to your home or where you’ll be when ballots are mailed about 30-45 days before an election
- Via a link in an email. We’ll send you an email about 30-45 days before the election with a link to your ballot. You need a printer for this option since you’ll need to return your printed ballot by mail, at a drop box or at your local board of elections.
You pick how you want to receive your ballot on the request form.
Online if you have a Maryland’s driver’s license or MVA-issued ID card.
- Mail-in ballot application for 2024 Elections (PDF Application Coming Soon) Solicitud de Papeleta de Votante Ausente para las Elecciones del 2024 (PDF Application Coming Soon)
How do I vote my mail-in ballot?
There are instructions with your ballot. Please review the instructions carefully before starting to vote.
If you received your ballot by mail or fax, you need a black pen to vote. Review your ballot before voting as your ballot may be multiple pages. Carefully fill in the oval to the left of your choice, and do not vote for more candidates than the number specified in the contest heading. If you wish, you may vote for fewer candidates than specified.
If you download your ballot from the State's website, you can print the blank ballot and mark your ballot by hand.
Do not sign your name or make any other mark on your ballot.
Write-in voting is only allowed in general elections. A general election ballot has spaces for write-in votes. To cast a write-in vote by hand, fill in the oval to the left of the space for the write-in vote, and write the first and last names of the person in the appropriate space.
You must mail or hand deliver your mail-in ballot to a voting location, a ballot drop off box, or your local board of elections. You cannot email or fax your voted mail-in ballot.
How do I return my voted ballot?
You must mail or hand deliver your voted ballot. You cannot submit your voted ballot online, by email or fax.
2024 Presidential Primary Election
Use the envelope provided with your ballot. You can:
- Mail your ballot. We recommend that you mail your ballot as soon as you have voted it. It must be postmarked on or before primary election day (April 23, 2024). Your voted ballot must be received by your local board of elections by 10 am on May 3, 2024.
- Take your ballot to a ballot drop box. When you receive your ballot, you will also receive a list of the ballot drop box locations in your county. A list will also be posted here once the locations are finalized for the 2024 elections.
- Hand deliver your ballot. You must deliver it to your local board of elections by 8 pm on election day, or you may take it to an early voting center, or a ballot drop off box by the time the polls close.
- The list of early voting centers for the 2024 Primary Election will be posted when available
If you have specific questions, please contact your local board of elections or the State Board of Elections.
Can I have help voting?
Yes, if you have a disability or are unable to read or write, you may have help requesting a mail-in ballot and voting. Any person can help you except:
- A candidate on your ballot;
- Your employer or an agent of your employer; or
- An officer or agent of your union.
The mail-in ballot application is expected to be ready mid-2023.
If you need help voting your ballot, the person helping you must mark the ballot according to your wishes and cannot make an effort to influence your vote. This person must also complete the Certification of Person Assisting mail-in Voter (provided with your mail-in ballot). This certification must be returned with your voted ballot.
Contact your local board of elections for more information on this process.
What should I do if...
...I haven't received my ballot?
Ballots are typically mailed or available for download about 3 weeks before an election.
If you requested a ballot but have not received it, and have verified on the voter look-up website that your ballot has been sent, wait a few days. Your ballot may be in transit. If the election is one week away and you haven't received your ballot, please contact your local board of elections. A representative of your local board can help you.
...my ballot is damaged or I made a mistake on my ballot?
If you received your ballot by mail or fax, contact your local board of elections, and request a replacement ballot.
If you downloaded your ballot, log back into the website. If you made your selections in the system, make your selections again and print the ballot. (We do not save your marked ballot, so you must make your selections again.) If you printed a blank ballot and marked your ballot by hand, print another ballot and mark the ballot.