Voting Rights with Chucks and Chalk

Your Voting Rights: 4 Common Questions

Here are the answers to 4 common questions you may have about your voting rights.

AM I ABLE TO GET TIME OFF FROM WORK TO VOTE?

Every employer in the State shall permit any employee who claims to be a registered voter in the State a period not to exceed 2 hours absence from work on Election Day in order to cast a ballot if the employee does not have 2 hours of continuous off-duty during the time that the polls are open.

The employer shall pay the employee for the 2 hours absence from work.

Each employee shall furnish to the employer proof that the employee has voted or attempted to vote.

The proof that an employee has voted or attempted to vote shall be on a form prescribed by the State Board.

WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE CHALLENGES MY RIGHT TO VOTE?

  1. The right of an individual to vote may be challenged at the polls only on the grounds of identity.
  1. An individual whose right to vote is challenged at the polls may establish the individual’s identity by presenting any of the following forms of identification: (i) the individual’s voter registration card; (ii) the individual’s Social Security card; (iii) the individual’s valid Maryland driver’s license; (iv) any identification card issued to the individual by a political subdivision of the State, the State, the federal government, or any unit of a political subdivision of the State, the State, or the federal government; (v) any employee identification card of the individual that contains a photograph of the individual and is issued by the employer of the individual in the ordinary course of the employer’s business; or (vi) a copy of a current bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and current address of the individual.
  1. If an individual establishes the individual’s identity under paragraph (2) an election judge shall authorize the individual to vote a regular ballot. A challenge to an individual’s right to vote shall be made before the individual is issued a ballot or a voting authority card. If a challenge is made, and the challenged individual does not present any of the forms of identification specified under paragraph (2), the election judge receiving the challenge shall: (1) require the challenger to provide in writing, under penalty of perjury, the reasons for the challenge; (2) offer the challenged individual the opportunity to: (i) cast a provisional ballot; and (ii) submit an attestation, witnessed by the election judge, of the individual’s identity; and (3) submit the provisional ballot and other materials related to the challenge to the local board.
  1. During the canvass of provisional ballots, the local board shall determine, based on the information submitted by the challenger and the challenged individual, whether the challenged individual is: (1) the registered voter he or she claims to be; and (2) otherwise qualified to vote.

WHAT IF I AM IN LINE TO VOTE WHEN THE POLLS CLOSE?

Each qualified voter present at the polls at 8 p.m. on Election Day shall be allowed to vote.

WHAT IF I NEED ASSISTANCE TO VOTE?

A voter who requires assistance in marking or preparing the ballot because of a physical disability or an inability to read the English language may choose any individual to assist the voter. A voter may not choose the voter’s employer or agent of that employer or an officer or agent of the voter’s union to assist the voter in marking the ballot. If the voter requires the assistance of another in voting but declines to select an individual to assist, an election judge, in the presence of another election judge that represents another political party, shall assist the voter in the manner prescribed by the voter. An individual assisting a voter may not suggest in any way how the voter should vote.