FREDERICK COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 is kind of a big deal for Frederick, and the entire state of Maryland.
In fact, the entire United States will be heading to the polls in some capacity next week to decide the fate of our nation at the polls for Midterm Elections.
No matter which end of the line you hang out on, voting is an important right all US citizen are encouraged to exercise.
For us at The Chamber, we consider it our duty to ensure that our members are well informed about the candidates and issues up for vote, particularly when it comes to those that will impact their businesses. We want you to be confident and informed when you head to the polls.
But also, we get it.
Running a business, giving back to the community, having a semblance of a personal life, ADULTING EVERY DAY, is exhausting and, quite frankly it is time consuming to weed through all of the mumbo jumbo to get to the bottom of the things that matter.
Don’t worry though, Frederick, we’ve got you.
Voting in Frederick: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go
Registering to Vote
You have to be registered here to vote here.
You can find out if you’re registered by checking here: Voter Lookup
If you’re not, that’s cool, you still have time!
But very little.
You can do it in person at an early polling place and all of those will close tonight at 8pm, so hurry!
If you can’t make it to your polling place for any reason, you should apply for an absentee ballot.
This will allow you to cast your vote without actually going to your designated polling location.
And it doesn’t matter why.
You don’t have to prove that you’re on an internship at Oxford or partying it up on a beach in Cancun to be an absentee, you simply have to apply. But, you can’t do it by mail anymore, that ship has sailed friends (it had to be received by 10/30/18).
Instead, click here to figure out how to cast an absentee ballot for Tuesday.
You basically have until Friday to get it done.
Now that you’re registered, let’s get you to the polls!
Voting in Maryland
You can vote early.
But not for long because early voting ends today!
It has been quite the draw this year with voter turnout having doubled since the election in 2014. It’s pretty exciting to see so many people making voting a priority.
You have to vote at your designated location.
For early voting in general elections, there are four locations in Frederick County. You may go to any of them:
Frederick Senior Center | 1440 Taney Avenue Frederick, MD 21702
Thurmont Regional Library | 76 E. Moser Road Thurmont, MD 21788
Urbana Regional Library | 9020 Amelung Street Frederick, MD 21704
Middletown VFD Activities | 1 Firemans Lane Middletown, MD 21769
Each of these early voting locations are open from 10am until 8pm.
On November 6th, you will need to report to your assigned location to vote.
You can find out where you’re supposed to vote here: Find Your Polling Place
On voting day, the polls will be open 7am until 8pm.
When you go to vote, you will be given a paper ballot.
You take it to a polling booth, mark it by hand, insert it into a scanner, and boom, you’re done.
It’s a tiny bit old school, but it’s also seamless and simple which is perfect because voting shouldn’t be hard.
This isn’t the SAT and we don’t want you sweating through this thing so here’s a round up of what you’re going to be asked vote on come Tuesday.
What You’re Voting On
Frederick County voters will be choosing who will occupy the following positions:
When it comes to voting, the who is just as important as the what.
You will also be asked to vote on issues that will impact policy at the state and county levels.
There are two major questions we are voting on here in Maryland, both of which are Constitutional (state) amendments.
Question 1: Requiring Commercial Gaming Revenues that are for Public Education to Supplement Spending for Education in Public Schools
Aka: The one about spending money from gaming on public schools in the way it was intended.
Breaking this one down, gaming was sold to Maryland voters a few years ago on the idea that revenue from it would go towards educational improvements to exceed what was already being provided by the government.
In practice, gaming funds have largely been used to help the state meet their educational funding commitments, as opposed to allowing them to exceed them. As such, educational spending has actually not increased proportionally to the funds that have been added by gaming.
In a nutshell, this amendment would ensure that gaming funds are used the way Maryland voters intended them to be –as a way to supplement what the state is already providing, not as a way to help them meet their basic funding requirements.
As Maryland Center on Economic Policy Director Benjamin Orr, said, "While gambling was sold as a way to bring in more money for education, it really hasn't been putting more money in schools. We've essentially invested the same amount of money in our schools that we would have with or without legalized gambling." [i]
If passed, this measure would raise funding from gaming incrementally over time until, in 2023, 100% of funds raised from gaming would go to education.
Question 2: Same-Day Registration and Voting at the Precinct Polling Place on Election Day
Aka: The one about being able to register to vote on voting day when you go to vote at your designated location.
Basically, Maryland currently doesn’t allow those eligible to register to vote to actually do so on voting day. You are only allowed to register in person at the polls during the early voting period because voter registration closes before Election Day. This amendment would extend that so that voters could register to do so on Election Day.
Frederick County voters will also be asked to vote yes or no on Questions A through D which apply to issues at the county level.
Of the four, Question D, the one about career firefighters (NOT volunteer firefighters), is said to be the most controversial. You can read about Question D specifically here: The Meaning Behind Question D.
You can read about what will be in all of those here: What Questions are on the Ballot.
If it sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, be sure to click beneath each explanation where it says, “nontechnical summary,” to read what each question means in real people speak.
You can find out information about everyone running and all of the questions up for vote here: 2018 Voter’s Guide
Voter Rules and Whatnot
If you’re on the list of registered voters, you should NOT be asked for identification.
But, there are instances where you may need it, so bring it along, just in case.
If you forget your identification, don’t panic, you can still vote.
Provisionally, of course.
You will then have to take your identification to a designated location by a certain date to have it verified for your vote to count.
It’s a whole thing. So, to be on the safe side, just don’t forget to take your wallet with you.
You can take your kids.
But, the rule states that you can only take one or two children under the age of 18, and they can’t be disruptive or you may be asked to leave.
You can also bring an assistant if you’re disabled.
You can’t use your cellphone.
There are a lot of security provisions in place to prevent tampering, voter fraud, and other issues.
Did you know?
You can check out the ballot in advance.
They have a sample ballot online for anyone who needs to get a look beforehand. And, you can even write your notes on it and take it with you.
You can get a ride to the polls.
Lack of transportation shouldn’t deter you from exercising your right to vote. Uber is partnering with #VoteTogether and Democracy Works to give free rides to those in need. You can learn more here: Get a ride to the polls.
Your employer has to allow you to vote.
If you’re a registered voter who doesn’t have 2 continuous hours off on polling day between the hours of 7am and 8pm, your employer must allow you to go vote and they have to pay you too.
Voter intimidation is a thing.
An illegal thing.
But, it’s also more than just asking you who you voted for or why you voted for someone. It is more aggressive behavior, often targeting certain people, and involves things like false representation, and interfering with your right to vote.
You can read more about voter intimidation before you go and if you experience or witness behavior you think qualifies, you can report it. Here is some more information: Voter Intimidation
We encourage all of our eligible members to head out to the polls and cast your votes next Tuesday. We can only be your voice if you tell us what you want us to say!
[i] Baltimore Sun, "Maryland casinos are pumping out billions for education. So why are there school budget deficits?" accessed April 9, 2018
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