What Voters Need to Know for Election Day 2018 in DC, Maryland, Virginia - NBC4 Washington
Decision 2018

Decision 2018

The latest news on local, state and national midterm elections

What Voters Need to Know for Election Day 2018 in DC, Maryland, Virginia

Where to vote, poll hours, voter ID laws and everything else you need to know for Election Day

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Vulnerable Votes: The Debate Over Online Absentee Ballots

    Maryland's election board says requests for absentee ballots are skyrocketing ahead of the upcoming election — our first election since learning of Russian efforts to access voting systems, including those in the DMV. Investigative Reporter Jodie Fleischer explains why critics say a system designed to make voting easier also makes it riskier. (Published Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018)

    What to Know

    • Maryland polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. First-time voters need an ID.

    • Virginia polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Every voter needs an acceptable ID to cast their ballot.

    • Washington, D.C. polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can register to vote on Election Day with valid proof of residency.

    The stakes will be high on Tuesday as voters cast ballots in a host of statewide and local races.

    More than 24 million votes have already been counted, nearly double the number of early votes cast in midterm elections four years ago.

    Voters will decide which party controls the House of Representatives and who wins D.C. Council seats, the Maryland state house and one of Virginia's U.S. Senate seats.

    But first, they need to turn out to cast those ballots. Here's what you need to know ahead of Election Day:

     

    Where to Vote

    Enter your address in this Voter Information Tool to find your polling place and learn about what's on your ballot:

    You can also check at your locale's website: Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia

    When to Vote

    Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Polls will be open during these hours:

    • Maryland: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Virginia: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Washington, D.C.: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    In all three areas, anyone in line when the polls close will be able to vote.

    How to Avoid Lines

    Vote late in the morning or early in the afternoon for the best chance of avoiding lines.

    Getting to the Polls

    Uber, Lyft and Capital Bikeshare are among companies offering free or discounted transportation to the polls. Learn more about rideshare services here and other transportation options here.

    What to Bring

    Maryland

    Some first-time voters will be asked to show an ID. Acceptable forms of ID are detailed here and include a Maryland driver's license, MVA ID card, student, employee, or military ID card, U.S. passport, copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and address, or any other State or federal government-issued ID card. 

    Virginia

    All voters will be asked to show an ID. Acceptable forms of ID are a driver’s license, a DMV veteran’s ID Card, U.S. passport, a tribal ID, a valid Virginia university, college or school ID, a valid employee identification card or another government-issued ID. Click here for a full list of accepted identification.

    If you forget your ID, you can still vote with a provisional ballot, but a copy of the voter’s ID must be sent to their local electoral board by noon on Friday, Nov. 9 for their vote to count.

    Washington, D.C.

    You can just show up and vote if you have already registered. If you’re registering on Election Day or have recently changed your address, you’ll need to bring proof of residency. Acceptable documents include a photo ID or bill. They are listed here

    Polling Place Don'ts

    Think twice before you take that selfie. In Maryland, you cannot use your phone or any other electronic device in the polling booth. 

    Nothing in Virginia law prohibits voters from taking pictures of themselves, fellow voters or their ballot within the polling place, Attorney General Mark Herring has said. And residents of the nation's capital are also clear to snap away in the booth, according to Ballotpedia.

    You are not allowed to electioneer, or campaign, near a polling place. There will be signs indicating where it is prohibited to electioneer.

    Many voters can wear hats, T-shirts or other apparel containing a political message or supporting a candidate. In Virginia, candidates, representatives of candidates and those who go to the polls for reasons besides voting are not allowed to wear such apparel. In Maryland, those wearing political messages on their clothes must leave their polling place immediately after voting.

    In Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, you are allowed to bring a sample ballot or other notes inside the booth. Make sure not to forget your notes in the voter box. In Virginia, you are not allowed to print the sample ballot on yellow or white paper and you cannot give it to anyone else.

    Voter Assistance: Disability, Seniority and Language

    Many polling places are accessible, but you can check with your polling location to make sure. If your polling location is not accessible, you can request a change with your local Board of Elections.

    In Virginia and Maryland, the availability of ballots in Spanish or other non-English languages varies by county. Check with your local board of elections.

    Anyone is allowed to bring someone with to help them vote, except for their union representative or employer.

    Maryland

    The Disability Rights Maryland Voter Hotline can help address concerns. Call 443-692-2492, 800-233-7201 ext. 2492 or TTY 410-235-5387. You can also email Voting@DisabilityRightsMD.org.

    Virginia

    Curbside voting is available for people age 65 and older or anyone with a physical disability.

    Washington, D.C.

    Voters can cast a ballot from their car if they cannot enter a polling place due to disability, seniority or illness. Spanish, Mandarin and American Sign Language interpreters are available at certain polling places. Election workers can help call an interpreter for voters who speak any language.

    Voter Registration

    Maryland

    The registration deadline passed Oct. 16, and registration during early voting ended Nov. 2.

    Marylanders can check their voter registration status here.

    Virginia

    The deadline passed Oct. 15. You can no longer register to vote in this Tuesday's elections.

    Virginians can check their voter registration status here.

    Washington, D.C.

    Same-day voter registration is available at Early Voting Centers and at the polls on Election Day. You can also register at a D.C. DMV or a number of other government buildings detailed here.

    Washingtonians can check their registration status here.

    Early and Absentee Voting

    Time is running out to vote early or absentee. Find more information here

    Sample Ballots

    Maryland

    Sample ballots for each county can be found here

    Virginia

    The Virginia Board of Elections directs people to the Voter Information Tool to find out what’s on their ballot. 

    Washington, D.C.

    Sample ballots for all eight wards can be found here.

    Whom to Call If You Have a Problem

    If you have any questions about voting, run into a problem at the polls or think you are a victim of voter intimidation, you can call the Voter Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA for Spanish. You can also contact your local boards of elections at the following numbers:

    Washington, D.C.

    The supervisor of your voting place, called the precinct captain, is the first person to contact with questions. You can also contact the Board of Elections at 202-727-2525. To report misconduct, called the Board’s Office of the General Counsel at 202-727-2194.

    Virginia

    The state offers three ways to file a complaint about your registration or voting experience:

    • Send a letter to the Virginia Department of Elections: Virginia Department of Elections, 1100 Bank Street, First Floor, Richmond, Virginia, 23219
    • Go to www.elections.virginia.gov/voter-complaints and file an informal complaint form online.
    • Send an email to info@elections.virginia.gov.

    Maryland

    Call the Maryland State Board of Elections at 410-269-2840.

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