Maryland voter guide 2022: How to vote and what’s on the ballot

On Election Day, voters in Maryland are set to decide on a new governor, a ballot measure to legalize marijuana and a slew of local races including some county executive contests in the D.C. area that could be close.

After eight years in office, Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is blocked by term limits from running again. That has set up a showdown between Democrat Wes Moore and one-term Republican Del. Dan Cox, who knocked off Hogan’s hand-picked successor in the general election.

In addition, voters are weighing in on the state’s next attorney general, comptroller, eight U.S. House races and a U.S. Senate seat.

Here’s everything you need to know:



Mail-in ballots

If you have already requested a mail-in ballot, the Maryland State Board of Elections says ballots are now being mailed.

Voters have until Nov. 1 to request a mail-in ballot sent via the U.S. Postal Service. The deadline to request a link to download a mail-in ballot from your computer is Nov. 4.

You can send in your request for a mail-in ballot online or by filling out a form and mailing it to your local board of elections. (The form is also available in Spanish.)

The State Board of Elections got permission to tabulate mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day, in order to stave off the lengthy delays in vote-counting seen during the July primary. In some close races, vote counting stretched on for weeks due to the large number of mail-in ballots.

As of Oct. 10, more than 554,000 voters have requested mail-in ballots for the general election and about 4,100 have already been returned.

Ballot drop boxes

A total of 281 ballot drop boxes have been installed across the state. You can return your mail-in ballot to any drop box as long as it’s in your county of residence.

You can find a list of ballot drop box locations online.

Ballot drop boxes will be locked promptly at 8 p.m. on Nov. 8.

In-person voting on Election Day

Election Day is Nov. 8. If you want to vote in-person, you can look up your polling place online.

Maryland has same-day voter registration on Election Day. You can register to vote on Election Day by bringing a document showing proof of residency with you to vote.

The polls are open 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Nov. 8.

Early voting

Early voting, which started Oct. 27, ran through Thursday, Nov. 3.

Some of the early voting centers changed since July’s primary. See the full list of early voting centers online.

Early voting centers were open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

What’s on the ballot

Governor

Democrat Wes Moore, a combat veteran, author and former CEO of a poverty-fighting organization, faces Republican Dan Cox, a first-term state delegate.

Moore has promoted his commitment to education and said he will address gun violence and a rise in crime with investments in violence intervention programs.

During the Democratic primary Moore defeated eight other Democratic challengers. But he faced accusations that he overstated his childhood connections to Baltimore in interviews for his 2010 book “The Other Wes Moore,” and failed to correct interviewers who misstated his background.

Moore’s running mate is Aruna Miller, a former Maryland state delegate.

For his part, Cox has drawn sharp criticism from both Democrats and current Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has dismissed the candidate as a “Q-anon whack job.”

Cox, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, fought to stop the early processing of mail-in ballots sought by the state board of elections and has declined to say whether he would respect the results of the election.

Cox, who opposed many COVID-19 closures and other pandemic measures, said his message about freedom represents the future of the Republican Party.

Cox’s running mate is Gordana Schifanelli, a law professor at the Annapolis Naval Academy.

Recent polls have shown Moore with a wide lead over Cox — 60% to 28%.

In addition to the major party candidates, there are three third-party candidates running:

  • David Lashar and running mate Christiana Logansmith are running on the Libertarian ticket;
  • Nancy Wallace and Patrick Elder are running on the Green Party ticket;
  • David Harding and Cathy White are running on the Working Class Party ticket.

Attorney general

In the race for attorney general, Democrat Anthony Brown faces Republican Michael Peroutka.

Brown is Maryland’s former lieutenant governor and current U.S. House representative for the 4th District. He unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014.

Peroutka, a former Anne Arundel County Council member, was once affiliated with a neo-Confederate group and has engaged in 9/11 conspiracy theories.

The position is currently held by Attorney General Brian Frosh, who is stepping down after two terms.

Comptroller

In the comptroller race, Democrat Brooke Lierman faces Republican Barry Glassman.

Lierman has served in the Maryland General Assembly since 2015 representing the 46th District in Baltimore City.

Glassman currently serves as the Harford County executive.

The comptroller acts as the state’s tax collector and is one vote on the powerful three-person Board of Public Works, which oversees the state spending.

Lierman and Glassman made their respective pitches to voters during a recent forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters and other organizations.

5 proposed constitutional amendments

Maryland voters will also get the chance to weigh in on five proposed constitutional amendments, including a measure to legalize the personal use of marijuana.

Question 4, as it’s known, legalizes the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana, or up to two plants, for adults 21 and older.

A recent poll, conducted by The Washington Post and the University of Maryland found broad support for legalization, with 3 in 4 voters supporting the measure.

If approved by voters, Maryland would become the 20th U.S. state to legalize adult use of marijuana. Voters in D.C. legalized recreational use of pot in 2014. The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in 2021 legalizing adult recreational use.

Under current Maryland law, possession of more than 10 grams (about 0.35 ounces) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Possession of less than 10 grams is a civil offense punishable only by a fine.

The Maryland General Assembly has already spelled out policy changes that would take effect if voters approve the new referendum, including increasing penalties for smoking marijuana in public and making it illegal to smoke marijuana while driving.

The four other proposed constitutional amendments are:

Question 1: This measure would rename Maryland’s two appeals courts. The Court of Special Appeals is the second-highest court in Maryland and the Court of Appeals is the highest court. This has often led to some confusion. Under the proposal, the Court of Special Appeals would be renamed the Maryland Appellate Court and the Court of Appeals would become the Supreme Court of Maryland.

Question 2: This measure would change the eligibility requirements for Maryland state senators and delegates. Among other requirements, currently, these officeholders have to have resided in the districts they represent for at least six months before the date of an election. Under the proposed constitutional amendment, they would have to have both resided in and maintained a primary place of abode in their districts for at least six months prior to the date of an election.

Question 3: This allows lawmakers to enact legislation limiting the right to a jury trial in a civil case in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $25,000. Currently, the Maryland Constitution allows lawmakers to limit jury trials in civil cases in which the amount exceeds $15,000. In these cases, judges, rather than juries, determine the verdict.

Question 5: This would repeal a requirement that voters in Howard County elect three orphans’ court judges and instead require Howard County Circuit judges to alternately sit as an orphans’ court. Orphans’ courts are Maryland’s version of probate courts, in which judges preside over the administration of estates.

US House

Among congressional races, all eyes are on the 6th District, whose borders have shifted making it potentially more fertile ground for a Republican pickup.

Democratic Rep. David Trone, the founder of Total Wine & More, was first elected to the seat in 2018, and faces three-term Republican Del. Neil Parrott.

Trone defeated Parrott for the same seat in 2020 by 20 points. However, after a contentious redistricting effort, the borders of the 6th District have shifted, making it potentially more promising ground for Republicans. Under the new borders, the district includes all of Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties, and a portion of Montgomery County

The University of Virginia Center for Politics Sabato’s Crystal Ball classifies the race as “leans Democratic,” but it’s considered the most competitive congressional race in the state.

Overall, Democrats currently hold seven of the state’s eight House seats.

There are three other congressional districts in the broader D.C. area. Democrats are favored in all three of them.

In the 4th District, which includes a large swath of Prince George’s and a small sliver of Montgomery County, Democrat Glenn Ivey faces Republican Jeff Warner.

Ivey, the former state’s attorney, beat out eight other candidates, including former Rep. Donna Edwards, for the Democratic nomination.

In the 5th District, Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, one of the current longest-serving members of Congress, is running for reelection. Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, has held the seat since 1981. He faces Republican Chris Palombi.

In the 8th District, Democrat Jamie Raskin, who was first elected in 2016, faces Republican Gregory Coll and Libertarian Andrés Garcia.

Senate

One of Maryland’s two Senate seats is also up for grabs. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who was first elected in 2016, is running for reelection against Republican Chris Chaffee.

Chafee beat out nine other Republicans in the July primary to challenge Van Hollen.

Van Hollen won the seat in 2016 with more than 60% of the vote.

County executive, council races

There are also a slew of county executive races and other local contests.

In Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous county, Democratic Executive Marc Elrich, is seeking a second term.

He faces Republican Reardon “Sully” Sullivan.

In the July primary, Elrich narrowly defeated challenger David Blair by just 32 votes — out of nearly 140,000 votes cast.

However, in heavily Democratic Montgomery County, Elrich is favored to win the general election contest.

There are also a number of council races on the ballot, including all four at-large seats and two new district seats that will expand the size of the council to 11 members.

At-large candidates:

  • Ralph P. Fiotes (R), broker and business owner
  • Lenard Lieber (R)
  • Dwight Patel (R), a developer/architect
  • Gabe Albornoz (D), currently serving as the council president and running for a second term
  • Evan Glass (D), currently serving as council vice president and running for a second term
  • Will Jawando (D), running for a second term.
  • Laurie-Ann Sayles (D), former Gaithersburg City Council member

In District 2, which is in the western half of the county and includes Germantown, Clarksburg and Dickerson, current member Craig Rice is term-limited. The candidates to succeed him are:

  • Dan Cuda (R), an Air Force veteran and former Pentagon management analyst
  • Marilyn Balcombe (D), CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce.

District 3 is in the center of the county and includes Gaithersburg and Rockville.

In District 4, a bow-tie-shaped sliver of the county that includes Silver Spring and North Bethesda. The current council member, Nancy Navarro, is term-limited. Candidates to succeed her are:

District 5 is along the eastern edge of the county and includes parts of Leisure World, White Oak and Burtonsville. The current council member, Tom Hucker, is stepping down. Candidates to replace him are:

  • Kate Woody (R), a lawyer, real-estate broker and tax consultant
  • Kristin Mink (D), senior legislative organizer for the Center for Popular Democracy and former MCPS teacher

The new District 6 includes Wheaton, Aspen Hill and Glenmont.

  • Viet H. Doan (R), a Deloitte consultant and former Homeland Security staffer
  • Natali Fani Gonzalez (D), former vice chair of the Montgomery County Park and Planning Commission

The new District 7 is in the “upcounty” portion of the county and includes Sandy Spring, Olney, Montgomery Village and Damascus.

If all Democrats prevail in the council seats, women would make up a majority of the council for the first time since the 1980s.

In Prince George’s County, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is running unopposed in the general election for a second term.

There is only one competitive county council race on the ballot in Prince George’s County.

In District 7, which includes Capitol Heights, Marlow Heights, Suitland and Temple Hills, a Democratic newcomer who defeated incumbent Rodney Streeter in the July primary, faces a Republican challenger.

Three other county executive races in Maryland are expected to be much closer contests.

In Frederick County, Executive Jan Gardner is stepping down after two terms, leaving an open seat that is hotly contested.

County Council member Jessica Fitzwater, who has said she will model herself on Gardner, is up against two-term state Sen. Michael Hough.

Frederick County has only had a charter form of government — with a county executive and county council — since 2014.

The Howard County executive race has shaped up to be a rematch of the 2018 contest.

Democratic County Executive Calvin Ball faces former Republican County Executive Allan Kittleman.

Ball defeated Kittleman four years ago, 53% to 47%.

In Anne Arundel County, Executive Steuart Pittman, a Democrat, is facing a challenge from Republican Jessica Haire.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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