Letter to the Editor: Are You Registered to Vote?

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Are you registered to vote?  If you are not registered, there is still time to do so before the mid-term elections on November 6. The deadline to register in Maryland is 9 p.m., Tuesday, October 16th.

How do you register to vote?  

You can register until 9 p.m. October 16th either online at

www.elections.state.md.us  or in person at your Board of Elections office. The Kent County Board of Elections is located at 135 Dixon Drive in Chestertown.  In Queen Anne’s County, the Board of elections is at 110 Vincit Street in Centreville. You can also request a voter registration application by calling (410) 778-0038 in Kent County or (410)758-0832 in Queen Anne’s County.  

However, if you are not registered by Oct. 16, you may also register in person at the polls during Maryland’s Early Voting period, Thursday, October 25 through Thursday November 1, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Contact your local Board of Elections (410-778-0038 for Kent Board of Elections; 410-758-0832 for Queen Anne’s) to inquire about what paperwork you must bring in order to register.

Who is eligible to vote?  In Maryland, any Maryland resident who is an American citizen age 16 or older may register to vote.  To vote on November 6, you must be at least 18 years old on Election Day. People with disabilities can ask a family member or friend to assist them with the registration process. People who have been convicted of a felony but who have completed serving their prison sentences are eligible to vote, but they will need to re-register.

Have you moved recently? If so, you’ll need to update your address with the Board of Elections. You can do this using the same process you’d use to register to vote (see: How do you register to vote?)

When is Election Day? Election day is Tuesday November 6, 7 a.m. through 8 p.m.  

When can I vote?  In Maryland, you can vote on election day or you can vote during early voting from October 25 until November 1, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily – see “Where do I vote” for locations.

Where do I vote?

You can find out where your polling place is on line at www.elections.state.md.us.  The Board of Elections will mail all registered voters a sample ballot that includes information on polling places.

Locations for Early Voting are the Chestertown Public Library, 408 High St., Chestertown, for Kent County, and at two locations in Queen Anne’s County, Queen Anne’s County: Queen Anne’s Office Building, Conference Room, 110 Vincit Street, Centreville, or at Kent Island Library, 200 Library Circle, Stevensville.

If you prefer, you may file an absentee ballot that you can get either on line or through the Board of Elections.  (You don’t have to specify a reason for voting absentee.) To submit an absentee ballot, you must either hand deliver it to the Board of Elections or mail it to that office. It must be returned to the Board of Elections by hand delivery by 8 p.m. on November 6.  If you mail in your absentee ballot, your ballot must be postmarked by November 6 and received by the Board of Elections by 10 a.m. on November 16th.

Why should you vote?  Your Vote is Your Voice.  On November 6, Maryland voters will choose their governor and other state officials, their U.S. Senator, their representative to the U.S. House of Representatives and their delegates and senator to serve in the Maryland General Assembly. Voters will also choose district judges, as well as county commissioners, school board members, state’s attorneys, sheriffs, and other local officials.  Elected representatives make important decisions about health care, schools, job opportunities, transportation, legal issues, business and farming concerns, the Chesapeake Bay, and many other issues that affect you and your family. To make sure your voice is heard, you can help elect people who will best represent your own opinions.

Does your one vote really matter?  Yes it does.  In a recent election in Virginia, the vote was tied, and the person chosen was elected using a coin flip.  No one wants to leave his/her representation to chance.

How can you get information about the candidates?  The League of Women sponsors candidate forums where voters can meet the candidates and ask them questions about their views.  

U.S. House of Representatives, District 1 – October 21, 2018, 2:00pm – 3:30pm – Talbot County Free Library, 100 W. Dover St., Easton

Kent County State’s Attorney – October 15, 2018 7:00pm – 8:30pm at Kent County Public Library, 408 High Street, Chestertown

Kent County Commission (followed by meet/greet for District Judge, Orphans Court Judges, Sheriff, Clerk of Court and Register of Wills candidates) – October 18, 2018 7:00pm to 8:30pm at Chestertown Fire House, 211 Maple Ave., Chestertown

Kent County School Board – October 22, 2018 7:00pm – 8:30pm at Kent County Public Library, 408 High Street, Chestertown

Queen Anne’s County Commissioners – October 15, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm at Planning & Zoning Rm., County Office Bldg., 110 Vincit St., Centreville

You will receive mailings from candidates and see their ads on television.  Candidates also have web and Facebook pages you can consult.

You will also find election information on an online Voters’ Guide produced by the League of Women Voters.  Go to www.VOTE411.org. Candidates for every office in every county in Maryland were asked to respond to questions relating to the duties of the office they are seeking and to list their websites and social media pages. More than 1,500 candidates responded to the League’s questions.  After reaching the Webpage you can enter your address and get a complete list of the candidates who will appear on your ballot, their biographical and contact information, along with their responses to League Questions.

A couple of weeks before the election, the League of Women Voters produces a printed Voters’ Guide that provides the same information as on VOTE411.org. This guide will be printed in the Star Democrat and other Queen Anne’s County publications, but not in the Kent County News. However, in Kent County copies of the League Voters’ Guide will be available at the public libraries, as well as distributed at the Farmers Market in Chestertown on Saturday, October 27 and Saturday, November 3.

Remember: Your Vote is Your Voice. Voting is your chance to tell decision makers what you think. Speak up and be heard. Your vote matters!

 

Kitty Maynard
Chestertown
Director, Your vote, your voice!

 

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