Voters in Rockville prepare for unusual election

A unique election is coming soon in Rockville, Maryland, as the city prepares to be the first in the state to allow residents to vote through the mail.

Registered voters will receive their ballots in their mailboxes in early October, about a month before the Nov. 5 election.

Voters must be registered by Sept. 20 to participate.

“Not everything will change,” said Lois Neuman, who chairs the Rockville Board of Supervisors of Elections. “We will still process same day registration and have a full service vote center for those who prefer the in-person experience.”

Neuman spoke in front of the Rockville City Council last year when lawmakers passed the measure, allowing for the new voting system.

“Every effort will be made to keep people informed,” said Neuman. “There’s no sense doing this if voters do not know what it is that they need to do and what they can expect.”

Once voters receive their ballots in the mail, they will need to mark them and mail them back.

“Your ballot must be received at Rockville City Hall no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day,” city officials said in an informational document posted online. “Be sure to mail your ballot ahead of time to account for postal delivery time.”

Voters also can deliver their ballots to city hall in person.

“There is a paper record of every vote cast, and these ballots can be re-tabulated if needed,” city officials said of the voting system’s security. “The voting equipment is never connected to the internet. The network used to generate official election results is never connected to the internet.”

Officials added that physical access to the network is limited to election officials who have gone through a security background check.

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