BALTIMORE — Nikki Charlson and her staff have been very busy getting ready for Tuesday’s special election.
Because of the virus, the process had to be altered. Instead of the large gatherings, putting all at risk at a voting center, ballots will be mailed in.
"So we have had for decades what we call absentee voting in Maryland , where you can request to have a ballot be mailed to you and you return it by mail," said the Deputy Administrator for the State Board of Elections.
That's exactly what's happening now, except the mail-in reply is much bigger. Because of the volume, some ballots have been mailed in and the counting has begun at the local election boards. The count is stored securely until 8pm Tuesday when voting ends.
"It's the safest way to vote, it's free no postage is required," she said.
There are three in-person voting sites, one in each area of the 7th district.
They open at 7am and close at 8pm.
So maybe the voter didn't get the ballot in the mail or maybe the voter has a disability and they can't mark that ballot independently and privately. They can go to a vote center where there will be an accessible private way for them to mark their ballots.
Social distancing practices will be in place and equipment will be sanitized. Your mail-in ballot must be postmarked by Tuesday. Drop boxes will also be available at three in-person voting centers. Those must be dropped off by 8 p.m. Tuesday
"There will be a big container, you can't miss it, it says 'Drop your ballot here'," she explained.
At 8 p.m. Tuesday, the previous ballots mailed in results will be released. The in person ballots will be released Wednesday and they will continue to count ballots and release numbers until all ballots have been counted.
"We are doing our duty to secure the election process, even though it's a slightly different form than what we are used to," Charlson said.