Video Transcript Voting by Mail: An Overview 2020 Presidential Primary Election
[Title] Maryland State Board of Elections
[Music plays softly]
[Video Title] Voting by Mail: An Overview - 2020 Presidential Primary Election
[Narrator] Voting by mail, an overview.
[An example ballot envelope with Official Election Mail logo printed on the front appears. The envelope has an example voter’s name and address printed on the front. The example voter’s name is Jennifer Voter. This name and address were created for use in the video]
[Narrator] In a vote-by-mail election, every eligible voter will automatically be mailed a ballot. So for this type of election, you don’t have to apply for a ballot to receive one in the mail.
This video will provide an overview of the process.
In a vote-by-mail election, your ballot will be sent to the mailing address in your voter registration information. So it’s important to always make sure that your information is up to date.
[A green square appears around the voter’s address on the ballot envelope. A green arrow briefly points to the voter’s address]
[Narrator] When you get your ballot packet in the mail, first, check to make sure you’ve received the following:
[A mailbox appears. The mailbox’s door opens and the voter’s ballot envelope emerges.]
Then, above the ballot envelope, the Instructions for Voting By mail and a demonstration ballot appear.
[Narrator] The Instructions for Voting by Mail, your ballot. Please note, your ballot has “April 28, 2020” printed at the top because there wasn’t enough time to reprint the ballots after the election was moved to June 2nd due to the coronavirus. The April date does not affect your ballot being counted.
[A sample return envelope appears along with a List of Vote Centers and Ballot Drop off Locations. Then a Request for Maryland Driver’s License or Social Security Number form appears as well.]
[Narrator] Next is your return envelope, a list of vote centers and ballot drop off locations, and a form called Certification of Person Assisting Voter.
Some voters may also get a Request for Maryland Driver’s License or Social Security Number form.
[The envelopes and all forms save for the Instructions for Voting by mail vanish. The Instructions for Voting by Mail image is scaled up. An example return envelope appears.]
[Narrator] The next step is to review your instructions to make sure you understand the process. Please note that you do not need stamps to mail your ballot back. Postage on the return envelope is already paid.
[The envelope moves off screen and a demonstration ballot appears. A black pen marks selections on the demonstration ballot.]
[Narrator] Next, mark your ballot using a black pen and make sure to completely fill in the oval when you make a selection.
[The pen completely fills in the ovals with each selection on the ballot. A close up of the Favorite Olympic Sports contest on the demonstration ballot is displayed. The pen completely fills in the oval next to ‘Diving’.]
[Narrator] Be careful not to overvote. Each contest indicates how many selections you can make. So make sure to review how many selections you can make before you mark each contest.
[A close up of the Favorite Drink contest on the demonstration ballot is displayed. The Favorite Drink contest has ‘Vote For 1’ printed above the contest’s list of selections. A green arrow points to ‘Vote For 1’. The ballot fades.]
[Narrator] If you need help marking your ballot, someone can certainly help you. However, the person cannot be a candidate on your ballot, your employer or an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your union. The person helping you cannot influence you or tell you how to vote.
[The Certification of Person Assisting Voter form is displayed]
[Narrator] The person helping you will need to complete the Certification of Person Assisting Voter form.
[The demonstration ballot is displayed]
[Narrator] While marking your ballot, if you make a mistake, you can contact your local election office and ask them to send you a new ballot.
[The Request for Maryland Driver’s License or Social Security Number form and the return envelope are displayed]
[Narrator] If you got a Request for Maryland Driver’s License or Social Security Number form, you’ll need to complete this form and mail - not email - the form to your local election office separately from your ballot.
[The Request for Maryland Driver’s License or Social Security Number form moves towards the return envelope before moving away from it. A red circle with a line through it appears on the return envelope. The form and envelope fade.]
[Narrator] So don’t put it in your ballot envelope! If your local election office doesn’t get this form, your ballot will not count.
[The back of the return envelope is displayed and the words ID required printed on it. A green square appears around the words ID Required]
[Narrator] If you see ‘ID Required’ printed on your envelope, you will need to make a copy of your MVA-issued Driver’s License or ID and include it with your ballot documents. Or you can provide a document, no older than three months, that has your current address on it.
[A demonstration driver’s license appears along with the image of a copy of the driver’s license printed on paper. The copy of the driver’s license is put inside of the return envelope that has ID Required printed on it. The return envelope fades]
[Narrator] Once you’re done marking your ballot and filling out any requested forms, it’s now time to make sure you have everything you need before you seal your envelope.
[An unsealed return envelope appears]
[Narrator] In the envelope, make sure to include:
Your folded ballot. If someone helped you mark your ballot, include your completed Certification of Person Assisting Voter form.
[A voted demonstration ballot appears along with a completed Certification of Person Assisting Voter form to the left of the return envelope]
[Narrator] And, if your envelope is labeled with ID Required, include a copy of your ID or a document proving your current address mentioned earlier.
[The words ID Required appear on the return envelope and a copy of the demonstration driver’s license appears.]
[Narrator] If ID Required is not on your envelope, you do not need to include a copy of your ID.
[The words ID Required disappear from the return envelope and the copy of the demonstration driver’s license disappears as well.]
[Narrator] And remember, if you had to complete a Request for Maryland Driver’s License or Social Security Number form, that form does not go in your return envelope. Make sure to mail it to your local election office separately.
[The ballot and Certification of Person Assisting Voter are put in the return envelope. A completed Request for Maryland Driver’s License or Social Security Number form appears. It has the example voter’s (Jennifer Voter’s) information on it. A red circle with a line through appears on the return envelope and the form is not put into the envelope. The Request for Maryland Driver’s License and Social Security Number form then fades]
[Narrator] When sealing your envelope, we encourage you to use a wet sponge or cloth but you can also use tape.
[The return envelope flap is closed. The envelope is scaled up to show the Oath of Absentee Voter printed on the back]
[Narrator] IMPORTANT: The next step is to make sure you sign and date the Oath of Absentee Voter on the back of the return envelope. If you don’t sign the oath, your ballot will not count.
[A black pen appears and the name of the example voter, Jennifer Voter, is signed next to the X on the line titled Signature of Voter on the back of the return envelope. The date is also put above the line labeled Date. The name Jennifer Voter is printed next to the words ‘Printed Name of Voter’. The return envelope then fades.]
[Narrator] When you’re ready, there are two ways to return your ballot.
[The return envelope reappears, displaying the front of the envelope, which has the local election office’s address on it. A mailbox appears and the envelope moves into the open mailbox. The mailbox’s door shuts and the mailbox flag is raised. The mailbox moves off screen and the return envelope reappears on the left]
[Narrator] If you mail your ballot, it must be postmarked on or before 8 pm election day and arrive at your local election office by 10 AM on the second Friday after election day.
Remember if you mail your ballot, you do not need postage on your return envelope because postage is already paid.
[On the return envelope, a red circle appears on the upper right corner where ‘No postage necessary if mailed in the United States’ is printed]
[Narrator] If you decide to drop off your ballot, it must be dropped off at one of the drop off locations by 8 pm on election day.
[On the left, a graphic appears labeled ‘Official Drop off Location’ and features a picture of an official ballot drop box. The return envelope moves towards and vanishes into the official ballot drop off location graphic]
[Narrator] If you are overseas, use a military post office, or mail your ballot from an embassy or consulate, you do not need postage on your envelope.
[An image of planet earth appears]
[Narrator] However, if you mail your ballot using a foreign mail service, you will need to put enough postage on your envelope to get it into the US postal system.
[The image of Earth fades and a purple envelope symbol with ‘Emailed or Faxed Voted Ballot’ and an @ symbol on it on it appears. A red circle with a line through it appears over the purple envelope.]
[Narrator] And remember, you cannot return your ballot by fax or email. If you email or fax your voted ballot, it will not count.
[The purple envelope symbol vanishes and an image of the State Board of Elections Voter Lookup site appears.]
[Narrator] After you mail or drop off your ballot, you can check the status of your ballot to see if it was received by visiting our Voter Lookup site at voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch
[The example voter types her first name Jennifer, last name Voter, date of birth 1 05 1985 and Zip code 21401 into each field of the Voter Lookup site. The image of the site fades]
[A graphic with a Maryland flag, labeled ‘local election office’ appears.]
[Narrator] Please note that many ballots could be coming in at the same time. So it may take a little while for it to be processed with all of the others and for your status to be updated online.
[Many return envelopes begin to appear and move towards the local election office image. The image fades.
[Narrator] So that’s it? Not quite.
[An example ballot envelope appears and a green square is displayed around Jennifer Voter’s address on the envelope]
[Narrator] Your ballot will automatically be mailed to the mailing address in your registration information. But what if you’d like your ballot to go to another address?
[The ballot envelope moves offscreen and an image of the State Board of Elections website home page is displayed. A red square appears around the blue square button labeled ‘Request A Ballot’ at the bottom right corner of the image. The ‘Request a Ballot’ square also appears a bit larger to the right of the website’s image and a green arrow clicks on the Request a Ballot button]
[Narrator] You can contact your local election office or you can go to elections.maryland.gov and select Request A Ballot.
[The image of the website’s home page fades and the website’s Absentee Voting: Information and Instructions for 2020 Elections page appears. A green arrow points about mid-way down the screen to a link titled ‘Absentee ballot application for 2020 elections (PDF)’]
[Narrator] Or if you prefer, you can download and print a fillable PDF application at elections.maryland.gov/voting/absentee.
[The Absentee Voting Information page fades and an image of the Maryland Application for an Absentee ballot appears]
[Narrator] On the application, you can indicate where you want your ballot sent.Then, complete and submit the form with your updated information by the May 27th registration deadline.
[An image of a blue envelope symbol labeled ‘Unvoted Ballot’ with an @ sign on it appears and then fades]
[Narrator] You can also request to receive your ballot electronically (also known as internet delivery). Our online ballot delivery system features an accessible online ballot marking tool that allows you to mark your ballot online privately and secretly.
[An image of a room featuring a computer and printer on a desk appears.]
[Narrator] Please note, if you request to receive a ballot by internet delivery, you will be emailed a link to access and download your blank ballot using our online ballot delivery system.
[A green envelope symbol labeled Link to Access Unvoted Ballot appears above the computer’s monitor and moves downward towards the monitor, fading behind it. The printer prints a demonstration ballot]
[Narrator] However a ballot received by internet delivery will still need to be printed and mailed or dropped off at one of the drop off locations. Voted ballots cannot be returned by email or fax. If you return your ballot by email or fax, it will not count!
[A return envelope and mailbox appear. The ballot that was printed goes into the return envelope and the mailbox’s door opens. The return envelope goes into the open mailbox. The mailbox’s door shuts and its flag is raised. The mailbox, along with the desk and computer fade.
[Narrator] So if you would like to receive your ballot electronically, email email@example.com
[An image titled Questions appears along with the sample return envelope. The State Board of Elections contact information is displayed.]
[Narrator] So that’s a quick overview of the vote-by-mail process. If you have any questions you can contact your local election office. Their contact information is listed on our website at elections.maryland.gov. Or, you can contact us at 1-800-222-8683 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
[A heart with the Maryland flag on it appears and glows. 2020 Maryland State Board of Elections appears in text]