U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Letters From Ben

October 29, 2022

Make A Plan To Vote

Dear Fellow Marylander,

Have you voted yet?

Maryland’s in-person early voting period started Thursday and mail-in ballots were sent out in early October to those who requested. So far, more than 200,000 Marylanders have returned mail-in ballots for the 2022 Gubernatorial Election – its formal name, since we are voting for governor, and a host of other federal, state, and local offices, as well as numerous ballot questions requiring an up-or-down vote.

Nationwide, more than 15 million voters have taken advantage of mail-in or in-person early voting, where available. Many states are breaking records in this non-presidential election.

Voting is fundamental in a free society like ours, and our government works best when voters are given ample opportunity to have their voices heard. Elections hold officeholders accountable to constituents and allow voters to influence local, state-level and national policymaking.

There is so much at stake in this election. We may not be selecting a new president this year, but you should ever underestimate how state and local elected officials can shape your life. This includes county executives, school boards, as well as local judges.

If you have not voted yet, I urge you to make a plan today.

The first step is to decide if you will vote during Maryland’s early-vote period, which runs through Thursday, Nov. 3. Or will you wait until Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

I always enjoy the energy of Election Day and standing with my neighbors in line at Fort Garrison Elementary School while I wait my turn to vote. But mail-in voting is a safe and effective option, especially if you cannot get to a voting center or polling place in person. If you are unsure of your schedule during the early-vote period or on Election Day, I would strongly encourage you to opt for a mail-in ballot, which you can track online.

Nearly 600,000 Marylanders requested a mail-in ballot so far. Don’t worry if you have procrastinated. You have until Tuesday, Nov. 1 to request a mail-in ballot online if you have a Maryland’s driver’s license or MVA-issued ID card. You also can submit a mail-in ballot request form at your local board of elections. If those options do not work, you can find a request form online and mail, fax or email it to your local board of elections. Keep the deadline in mind though. Your request for a mail-in ballot must be received by Nov. 1, 2022.

Another key deadline to mark on your calendar: your completed mail-in ballot must be mailed or dropped in a ballot drop box location by 8PM on Election Day, Nov. 8. If you mail your ballot, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day, so be alert to U.S. Postal Service mailbox pickup times so you don’t miss out.

Not yet registered? It’s not too late. In Maryland, we value voter participation and encourage all eligible individuals to vote, so you can still register during the in-person early voting period (Oct. 27 through Nov. 3). Visit a nearby early voting center and bring a document that proves your residence. This may be an MVA-issued license, ID or change of address card, or a paycheck, bank statement, utility bill, or other government document with your name and new Maryland address. Keep in mind that you will not need an ID and all this documentation once you are registered.

All early voting centers will be open from 7AM to 8PM daily during the early vote period. You can still register and vote if you are in line at an early vote center by 8PM on Nov. 3.

You also can register to vote on Election Day, November 8. Visit your assigned polling place and bring a document proving your Maryland residence. Please note that if you have moved within Maryland, you also can update your address during early voting or on Election Day. The same document rules outlined above for the early voting period apply here too.

All Election Day polling places are scheduled to be open on Tuesday, Nov. 8 from 7AM to 8PM. Again, you can still register and vote if you are in line at 8PM on Election Day, but I would encourage you not to wait that long.

Every election is important, but the consequences of this year’s election are far-reaching and go to the core of who we are as a nation. With that in mind, during this election season, we all should remain vigilant in the face of voter misinformation and intimidation. Be sure to check out the “Rumor Control” state and federal websites on the 2022 election. If anyone tries to interfere with your ability to vote or anyone’s voting rights – including using voter intimidation or harassment tactics – please report the incident to the Maryland State Board of Elections at 410-269-2840 or 1-800-222-8683. Federal law also protects your right to vote, and if you have voting rights concerns on election day, you can also contact your federal officials at U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Maryland at 410-209-4800 or 301-344-4433, or contact the local Baltimore FBI field office at 410-265-8080.

Also, please note that the Board of Elections is still looking for volunteers to help out as nonpartisan election judges on election day, and students who are at least 14-years-old may be eligible to serve as an Election Day Page and receive community service credit.

Voting is a fundamental right of American citizenship. This is not the forum to tell you who to vote for in the upcoming election, but it is an opportunity to urge you to vote. Don’t sit this one out. Please also remind your family, friends and coworkers of upcoming registration and voting deadlines and encourage them to vote, too. 

Thank for your time and sharing your voice through your vote.

Please feel free to reply to this email with your thoughts on this and any other topic. Or use my website to share your opinion


 Ben Cardin