Maryland to add hundreds more drop boxes for absentee ballots

The Maryland State Board of Elections is allowing at least 270 ballot drop boxes to be set up throughout the state ahead of the November election.

The decision comes after several local elections boards asked the state to supply far more than what’s been provided in the past amid concerns about changes at the U.S. Postal Service and the impact those changes could have on delivering ballots in time to be counted Nov. 3.

The move also comes as the nation deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

By contrast, there were 75 such boxes statewide for the primary election earlier this year.

Local boards will determine where the additional boxes will be stationed and exactly when they will be set up.

The state board plans to deliver the boxes to the local boards in late September, and starting Oct. 1, those local boards can begin canvassing the ballots.

Results won’t be announced until all precincts are closed on Nov. 3 but it makes it easier to tally the potentially tens of thousands of votes ahead of time and potentially determine winners hours after the polls close.

The board plans to mail applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters beginning Aug. 24 through the end of August.

Ballots are expected to be available in early October.

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