Frequently asked questions about the election
What is the deadline to register to vote?
For the primary election, the deadline is June 28 at 5 p.m. (in person) or 11:59 p.m. (online).
For more voter registration details, go to https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Elections/FrequentlyAskedQuestions/voter-registration-faqs.html
If I am enrolled as a Republican or a Democrat, can I vote in all Republican or Democratic primary races?
All county residents enrolled in a party can vote for county executive, County Council at-large, sheriff, state’s attorney, register of wills, clerk of the circuit court, circuit court judges, governor, attorney general, comptroller and U.S. senator. All registered voters, whether enrolled in a party or unaffiliated, can vote in school board races.
For positions elected by district, the race is decided by residents in that district. That applies to races for state senator, state delegate, County Council district seats, and representatives in Congress.
What are the districts in Montgomery County?
- County Council: The county has been divided into five geographic districts for the Montgomery County Council, but in 2020, voters passed a referendum that expanded that number to seven, starting with the 2022 election. There also are four at-large seats on the County Council. Here is the map with seven districts.
- Congress: Maryland is divided into eight districts for its representation in Congress. Montgomery County had parts of three districts (Districts 3, 6 and 8), but a new map created by the Maryland General Assembly moved part of a fourth district (District 4) into Montgomery County, too. This is the latest version of the map, which is under review in court.
- General Assembly: Maryland is divided into 47 districts for state senators and delegates. Eight of those districts are entirely in Montgomery County (Districts 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 39). Under a map the Maryland General Assembly approved in December, a district that was entirely in Howard County (District 9) now will include part of Montgomery County, too. This is the new legislative map, which also is under review in court.
What about the Montgomery County Board of Education?
The school board is divided geographically into five districts and also has two at-large seats.
Each candidate must live in the district he or she represents, but all district and at-large seats are chosen by all voters across the county, not just those living in the district. For example, someone who represents District 1 must live in District 1. But voters across the county get to choose the District 1 representative. This is the school board district map.
Why have there been delays in this year’s election?
Originally, the primary was scheduled for June 28 and the filing deadline for candidates was Feb. 22.
Every 10 years, following a U.S. census, states must redraw their maps for congressional districts. After the 2020 census, Maryland still had eight districts and representatives, but the district boundaries always change.
The Maryland General Assembly approved a new congressional map in December. Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the map, but the Democrat-controlled legislature overrode the veto. A judge struck down the map in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on March 25 on the grounds that it violated the Maryland Constitution.
The legislature quickly created a new map and presented it to the judge, who reviewed it in a hearing April 1.
The judge said she would not rule on the new map yet, for two reasons. First, Hogan had not yet signed or vetoed the new map. Second, the state is appealing the initial circuit court decision, hoping to retain the map the legislature created in December.
The General Assembly’s approved legislative map, determining boundaries for the state’s 47 districts, also has been challenged in court. Because of this lawsuit, the Maryland Court of Appeals in February extended the candidate filing deadline from Feb. 22 to March 22.
Then, in March, with the legislative map lawsuit still pending, the court moved the date of the primary election from June 28 to July 19. The candidate filing deadline was moved again, from March 22 to April 15.
Where do I go to vote in person on Election Day for the primary?
The most recent 40 Montgomery County voting sites are listed on the Montgomery County Board of Elections’ website. The board has not decided on the final sites for this year’s elections.
Each voting site is for voters in that area. To figure out your polling place or check if you are registered to vote, go to voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch or check a sample ballot that the Board of Elections mails to you.
Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
When is early voting?
Early voting for the July 19 primary will run from July 7 to 14, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.
Where do I go to vote during that early period?
There are 14 sites across the county. They are posted online. Anyone registered voter in the county can vote at any of the 14 sites, not just the site closest to where they live.
Can I vote by mail?
Yes. Any voter can request a mail-in ballot (which includes what used to be known as “absentee ballots”).
When is voting by mail?
Under federal law, ballots must be sent to military and overseas voters who request them at least 45 days before an election. The 45th day before the scheduled July 19 primary is June 4.
There is no deadline in state law for other ballots to go out. But the State Board of Elections plans to send mail-in ballots to other voters who requested them for the primary about 35 to 40 days before Election Day, which would be around June 9 to 14.
Where can I drop off a ballot?
The Montgomery County Board of Election lists dozens of drop-off ballot sites on its website from the 2020 election. The board has not decided on the final sites for this year’s elections.
Who is running in this year’s primary elections?
Bethesda Beat will present a complete guide to the candidates, with bios, photos and answers to our questionnaires, after the April 15 candidate filing deadline.
Until then, voters can keep track of who has filed to run for different offices at the Maryland State Board of Elections website.
The state board list still does not have Montgomery County Council candidates for district seats matched to their districts under the newly approved map, though. Bethesda Beat’s March 24 story explaining that discrepancy lists candidates in their correct districts as of that date.
How can I look up who represents me now?
The Maryland General Assembly has a web page where residents can enter their address and ZIP code to find out who represents them at the state and federal level.
Here is a list of state senators and delegates who represent Montgomery County.
Note: This Q&A section will be updated to reflect the latest news on the redistricting map lawsuits and to add more questions and answers.