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Vote Safely in November—Vote on Paper with Direct Absentee Ballot
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by Nancy Wallace | 2006

There  is an excellent way to protect your vote this fall from nearly any human and machine error.  It’s called “Direct Absentee” voting. It has the highest possibility of being counted and being counted accurately, and is the only means of being counted according to your original intent in the event of a recount. This combines the safety of a paper ballot with your direct delivery to the local board, or using certified U.S. mail.

Any voter can now vote absentee in Maryland, with no explanation needed. And if you take the extra small step of either going to your local county Board of Elections in person during the two weeks before the election, or mailing your request and ballot via certified U.S. mail, you can vote safely on paper, and be protected from any glitches on Election Day. (It is also more convenient, though not quite as much fun.)

To vote direct absentee in person, go to your local county election board during business hours during the last two weeks before the election, vote and turn in your sealed ballot. You may also vote on Election Day itself at the board, but there may be lines. You can get the address and phone number of your county election board at

To vote direct absentee by mail, call your county board of elections to request an application for an absentee ballot, or print a ballot request form from this website for the Maryland State Board of Elections and follow all instructions carefully: .  Remember to send your request certified mail, and send in your completed ballot certified mail as well.

The board of elections must receive this completed application by:

1. 4:30 P.M. on the Tuesday before the election (October 31) if this application is mailed.

2. 11:59 P.M. on the Tuesday before the election (October 31) if this application is faxed.

After the deadline, a Late Application for Absentee Ballot must be completed in person at the board of elections.

Note: no voting system is 100% safe and guaranteed. Some risks accompany any human and machine system. For further information, and to help ensure our November elections are as accurate as possible, please email Nancy Wallace at


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