Vote from quarantine: Maryland’s board of elections offers guidelines

Citing the increase in COVID-19 cases “in some locations,” Maryland’s State Board of Elections has released information on how residents can vote from their hospital bed or from quarantine.

“It is important for hospitalized or quarantined voters to know that they can still cast their ballots,” Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone said in a statement Friday.

First, voters or someone they have assisting them can get a ballot request form online. The form is also available at the local board of elections office.

The voter fills out something called a “Designation of Agent” form, also available online.

The person who is designated as the voter’s agent then takes the ballot request form to the local board of elections office in the county where the voter lives.

That person — now the designated agent — is given a ballot packet. Once the packet is delivered to the voter, the ballot is filled out by the voter and the voted ballot is put into the envelope. The voter signs the voter oath and seals the return envelope.

If the voter needs help in filling out the ballot, the voter’s agent or another person can help the voter. That person — the one assisting the voter — must complete the “Certificate of Assistance” form included in the ballot packet.

The oath on the return envelope must be signed. The ballot also must be sealed in the return envelope.

There are a number of ways the ballot can be submitted:

  • It can be dropped off in an authorized ballot drop box.
  • It can be hand-delivered to the local board of elections office.
  • It can be mailed back, but the Maryland State Board of Elections is currently recommending against mailing ballots, citing concerns over what it says are “ongoing United States Postal Service delivery delays.”

Elections officials in Maryland recommend dropping ballots off at drop boxes or at elections board offices.

In D.C., if you have a health emergency and are unable to vote in person, you can request an emergency absentee/mail-in ballot. Find more FAQs on the D.C. Board of Elections website.

Virginia has emergency absentee voting for people who missed the vote-by-mail application deadline because they were hospitalized or sick, or because their spouse, child or parent was hospitalized, ill or had died. Read the requirements and instructions for that here.


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