Friday, October 31, 2008

VOTE: Provisional ballots and other ways to make sure your vote counts

Election Day is this Tuesday, November 4. If you have any problems at the polls, call the Maryland ACLU Election Day Hotline: 1-888-496-ACLU (2258).
Virginia voter information is here (English and Spanish).

You have rights: Every worker who's eligible to vote has the right to be absent from work if your schedule would otherwise leave you unable to vote at the polls (see Voter Empowerment Card for MD law). The polls in Maryland will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You have the right to vote if you're in line or inside your polling place when the polls close. You can take written or printed election materials with you as long as they're for your own use in casting your ballot. Most voters won't need to show ID at all. However, if you're a first–time voter, you may need to show ID. If you don’t have ID, you can prove your residence with a wide array of alternative documents.

Problems you may encounter at the polls:
  • If you are told you're not on the voter list, ask an election judge to check the list again. If you’re not on the list, confirm that you're at the correct polling place for your address. If you are at the correct polling place, ask for a provisional ballot. If you’re not, go to the correct polling place to cast your ballot.
  • If someone challenges your right to vote, you have the right to prove your identity. Poll workers cannot challenge your eligibility. The only legal challenge is one in which the challenger claims that you are not the person you claim to be. If you cannot prove your identity, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot.
  • If someone tries to intimidate or harass you, report the problem to an election judge and Maryland ACLU Election Day Hotline at 1-888-496-ACLU (2258). If the election judge is the problem, call the ACLU Hotline.
  • If you make a mistake while voting, tell an election judge before submitting your vote.
    Be sure to review your selections and submit your vote.
Important reminders about your right to vote:
  • If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, you are eligible to vote. You can vote by absentee ballot if still in jail. If you have been convicted of a felony, you can vote once you have completed probation and/or parole.
  • If you are homeless, you can vote in the precinct where you live and usually sleep (which can be a street corner, a park, a shelter, or any other place).

Tips to avoid problems:
  • Check your voter registration status beforehand.
  • Locate your correct polling place.
  • Vote in the middle of the day if you can.
  • Bring some form of ID, even if it's not required.
  • Read instructions carefully and ask for help if needed.

Get the full story about your rights by downloading your Maryland Voter Empowerment Card (in English and Spanish). Get informed, get empowered, and VOTE!

ACLU of Maryland

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