Poll location vital for vote to count

October 23, 2008|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,david.nitkin@baltsun.com

Maryland officials are urging voters to double-check precinct locations so their ballots are counted on Election Day, when an exceptionally high turnout is expected.

State elections administrator Linda H. Lamone said yesterday that nine out of 10 registered voters might turn out Nov. 4 in some parts of the state, and she expects a statewide participation rate of about 85 percent. That would eclipse the most recent high of 81 percent in 1992. Four years ago, 78 percent of registered voters went to the polls.

Lamone warned yesterday that voters who cast provisional ballots Nov. 4 - filled out when a voter's name does not appear on registration rolls - will likely not see their decisions recorded.

That's because of a recent Maryland Court of Appeals decision, which determined that only paper ballots cast at the voter's precinct will be counted. In the past, provisional votes for president and statewide offices were tabulated, regardless of where they were cast. If voters approve Question 1, a statewide referendum authorizing early voting, a part of the plan would allow provisional ballots to be counted as in the past.

Voters can check their precinct location at www.elections.state.md.us. Follow the link to "Where is your polling place? Find out here."

The Web site also includes a "rumor control" section that addresses questions such as whether voters can wear clothing with candidate images into the voting booth or are allowed to vote if their home is in the foreclosure process. The answer to both of those questions is yes.

Questions may also be directed to the state elections board call center at 1-800-222-8683, which operates from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Voter registration has increased by 362,000 in Maryland this year, lower than the 419,000 increase four years ago, officials said. Local elections boards have more than enough electronic voting machines and electronic registration books to accommodate the increase, officials said.

"We have not seen any of the problems reported in other states with voter registration," Lamone said yesterday, in part because the state's computer system automatically weeds out duplicate registrations.

ABSENTEE BALLOT DEADLINE

The deadline to request absentee ballots from local boards of election by mail or fax is Tuesday. Applications for absentee ballots can be requested at www.elections.state.md.us or by calling 800-222-VOTE (8683). After Tuesday, requests for absentee ballots must be made in person at local boards of elections. Absentee ballots are permitted for any Maryland registered voters who will be absent or unable to vote in person on Election Day, Nov. 4.

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