Why Md. Will Have Roughly 19 Million In-Person Ballots for the Nov. Election

    Maryland has an electorate of roughly 4 million voters, but state election officials ordered roughly 19 million ballots for in-person voting for the Nov. 3 election.

    The sheer number of in-person ballots, coupled with the fact that more than a million voters have already requested mail-in ballots, left some voters scratching their heads. But since voters will be able to vote at any in-person voting center in their county, election officials say they need a stockpile of ballots at every location.

    Faced with a massive shortage of poll workers earlier this year, the State Board of Elections opted to open limited in-person voting centers instead of the usual smaller, more numerous neighborhood polling locations. The state’s 321 in-person voting centers, and 81 early voting centers, will be stocked with ballots for every precinct within their county or jurisdiction, according to a statement from the State Board of Elections.

    “If a given county had 10 distinct precincts, for example, every vote center in that county would need a supply of 10 different ballots ― one for each of the precincts in that county,” the statement reads. “The larger number of overall ballots ensures each vote center has an adequate supply of ballots for voters within each precinct of a given jurisdiction.”

    Election officials will use a database to tell if voters have requested a mail-in ballot, or already voted in-person. Officials will report any attempts to vote more than once to law enforcement, according to the Maryland Attorney General’s website.

    “Voting or trying to vote more than once is against the law,” the Attorney General’s website said. “If you do this, election officials will refer you to law enforcement agencies for further investigation.”

    Early voting will take place between Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 in Maryland, and Election Day voting will take place on Nov. 3. Centers will be open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. You can find an early voting center, Election Day voting center, or ballot drop box location here. Voters will also be able to return their mail-in ballots by mail, or drop them off at early voting or Election Day centers.

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    Bennett Leckrone
    Leckrone is a December 2019 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He has interned at The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Columbus Dispatch, PennLive.com, The Dayton Daily News and The Troy Daily News. Leckrone is a Report for America corps member.