Elections are the bedrock of our political system. Now that the legislative session is over, I would like to turn my attention to the upcoming primary which is set for June 26, 2018. This session, the General Assembly passed two bills which will change the paradigm for voting in this state.
- House Bill 152 allows Marylanders to automatically register to vote when renewing our driver’s license, signing up for health coverage with the state Health Benefit Exchange, or receiving help from a social service agency. If you do not wish to register, you may opt out during the process.
- House Bill 532 was a constitutional amendment to allow voters to register to vote and vote on election day. This measure will be on the 2018 ballot, and if approved by voters, it will come back to the General Assembly for final confirmation. The earliest this constitutional amendment could take effect would be the 2020 election. With these bills, the General Assembly has attempted to make it easier for Marylanders to participate in our elections.
Passing these measures were important to me because I still find myself in discussions with people who do not believe their votes matter. Of course, I disagree. There are many examples of elections coming down to a small number of votes. This most recently occurred in Virginia where an election was determined by a drawing because both candidates received the same number of votes. So yes, your one vote does matter!
If you are registered and want to vote, you will have at least three opportunities to do so. Your first opportunity is to vote by using the absentee ballot. You simply have to complete the Absentee ballot application for 2018 elections. Read the instructions, enter the required information, print the form, sign it, and mail it to Katie Brown, Baltimore County Election Director at 11112 Gilroy Road, Suite 104 Hunt Valley, MD 21031 or fax it to 410-887-0894, or scan the form and email it to: [email protected]
The second opportunity to vote is during the Early Voting period. From Thursday, June 14th to June 21st you may vote early at any early voting site for the 2018 primary election.
Finally, you may vote on Election Day which will be June 26th. You can look at this link to find locations of polling places. If you are uncertain where you vote, you may visit the State Board of Elections Voter Search page and it will give you everything you need.
If you are able to vote, you should. Your ability to participate must not be taken for granted; exercise your right. I look forward to seeing you out on the campaign trail!