WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
If I requested an absentee ballot and change my mind, can I go vote in person instead on Election Day?
The Verify team checked with the DC Board of Elections, the Maryland Board of Elections and the Virginia Board of Elections and their official webpages.
On Election Day, the check-in clerk will determine if you are eligible to cast a live or regular ballot or whether you must cast a “special ballot” instead.
There are several reasons you may be required to complete a special ballot. Here a few examples.
- You are marked as an "early voter"
- You are marked as an "absentee voter"
- You are marked as "ID REQUIRED," but do not have ID
- You claim a different party affiliation status
Voting by “special ballot” means the board of elections will determine your voting eligibility and count your vote after Election Day.
You can look up the status of your special ballot online the day after the election to find out if your ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why it was not counted.
If the Board decides not to count your special ballot, you may appeal that decision.
You may call the Office of the General Counsel at 202-727-2194 to schedule a hearing.
In Maryland, absentee ballots are called "mail-in" ballots.
If their records show you received a mail-in ballot, you are not eligible to vote on a “voting” machine and will be asked to cast a “provisional ballot."
Election officials start counting provisional ballots on the second Wednesday after each election.
Your ballot will be counted if you are a registered voter, were eligible to vote by provisional ballot, and met any other applicable requirements.
Voters in Maryland can use the voter lookup website to find out if your provisional ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why it was not counted. This information is available 10 days after the election.
If you take your absentee ballot with you to the poll, an election official will “spoil” it, give you another ballot and allow you to vote through a voting machine.
If you don’t bring your ballot with you, you would fill out a provisional ballot.
A provisional ballot has to go through some extra vetting before it can be counted.
You could also just vote the ballot that was mailed to you and drop it off at the general registrar's office by 7 p.m. on Election Day.