With a little less than two weeks to go before Election Day, Maryland has seen a record number of people voting by mail.
As of Wednesday, election officials have received nearly 750,000 mail-in ballots, according to updated figures from the Maryland State Board of Elections.
The total number of mail-in ballots submitted so far is more than four times higher than the number of Marylanders who voted by mail during the entire course of the 2016 election. Four years ago, 175,374 Marylanders submitted mail-in ballots, according to state figures.
In fact, the number of votes cast so far — 759,009 — represents more than a quarter of Maryland’s entire 2016 turnout of 2.8 million votes.
The updated figures come one day after Maryland’s deadline for voters to request a mail-in ballot. In-person early voting starts next week.
Voters who met the deadline will have their ballots sent to them. The deadline to return mail-in ballots is Election Day, which is Nov. 3.
The wave of mail-in ballots comes as voters have heeded Maryland election officials’ call to vote by mail to limit in-person contact amid the coronavirus pandemic. As part of that push, this year, all registered voters were sent an application for a mail-in ballot.
As of Wednesday, which was the mail-in ballot request deadline, a whopping 1.65 million requests have been submitted, according to state data.
And there are still a lot of mail-in ballots that have been sent to voters that have yet to be returned.
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Of the total number of mail-in ballots requested, well more than half — 55% statewide — have not yet been marked as received by the state Board of Elections.
In Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous county, residents requested a total of 373,744 mail-in ballots. Of those, more than 180,000 — or 52% — have not yet been received by election officials. (For comparison, in Montgomery County in 2016, just 50,000 residents in total voted by mail.)
The share of outstanding mail-in ballots is even higher in Prince George’s County. Residents there have requested a total of 263,633 ballots, the second-highest number in the state. However, nearly 60% of those ballots have not yet been received by the board of elections.
Here are some pointers if you have requested a mail-in ballot or still have one at home that’s waiting to be filled out.
If you decide to mail your ballot, it must be postmarked by Nov. 3. Depending on when your mail gets picked up, just dropping it in the mailbox on Nov. 3 doesn’t necessarily mean it’s postmarked.
You can also drop your completed mail-in ballot off at a drop box. There are 284 drop boxes across the state, with at least two in each county and dozens more in the larger ones, such as Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
The drop-off boxes will be locked at 8 p.m. on Election Day. See a list of drop boxes throughout Maryland here.
You can also hand deliver your mail-in ballot to your local board of elections by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
If you requested a mail-in ballot but show up to a vote center to vote in person, election officials will ask you to cast a provisional ballot.