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[photo, 151 West St., Annapolis, Maryland] The State Board of Elections was created in 1969 as the State Administrative Board of Election Laws (Chapter 555, Acts of 1969). Upon its creation, the Board assumed all powers and duties formerly vested in the Secretary of State with regards to elections. The Board was renamed the State Board of Elections on January 1, 1999 (Chapter 585, Acts of 1998).

The conduct of voter registration and elections in Maryland is supervised by the Board, which directs, supports, monitors, and evaluates the activities of the boards of elections in each county and Baltimore City. To maximize the use of technology in election administration, the Board also oversees the upgrade and standardization of voting systems and election procedures statewide (Chapter 564, Acts of 2001).

151 West St., Annapolis, Maryland, October 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

All voters in Maryland use the same voting system. For election day voting at the polls, voters use a touch-screen direct-recording electronic (AccuVote-TS) system. Voters using this system touch the computer screen to make, change, and review selections, and to cast a ballot.

A paper-based optical scan system (AccuVote-OS or Model ES-2000) is used for absentee and provisional ballots. On these paper ballots, voters fill in ovals next to their selection for each office or ballot question. Scanning units at the local boards of elections read the ballot and tabulate the selections made by voters.

To regulate the financing of campaigns for State and county offices, the Board administers the Fair Election Practices Act (Code Election Law Article, secs. 13-101 through 13-604). In addition, the Board prepares and certifies ballots, administers petitions, and publishes statewide ballot questions before elections.

In odd-numbered years, the Board meets with the boards of elections from the counties and Baltimore City to instruct them, their employees, and counsel on their duties in the conduct of elections. The Board also administers the voter registration-by-mail program.

Registration and Election Laws of Maryland, which is for sale to the public, is published by the Board. Also available are primary and general election returns beginning with 1948. More recent returns are available on-line from the Board.

The Board consists of five members appointed to four-year terms by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. Each member must belong to a principal political party with neither party having more than three or less than two members. Each member appointed by the Governor has been named by the state central committee of the principal political party entitled to the appointment (Chapter 4, Acts of 2005; Code Election Law Article, sec. 2-101).


The State Administrator of Elections is the chief election official for the State. The Administrator oversees the State Board functions, supervises the operations of the local boards, and receives and audits financial reports of candidates required under the Election Code (Code Election Law Article, secs. 13-401 through 13-404).

Appointed by the State Board of Elections with Senate advice and consent, the State Administrator also serves as secretary to the Board of State Canvassers (Code Election Law Article, secs. 2-103, 11-501 through 11-503).


Assisting the State Administrator of Elections is the Deputy Administrator who oversees seven divisions: Budget and Personnel; Candidacy and Campaign Finance; Election Management; Election Reform; Information Technology; Voter Registration and Petitions; and Voting Systems and State Procurement.

The Candidacy and Campaign Finance Division oversees the manner in which candidates and their organizations collect, spend, and report funds as regulated by Maryland's campaign finance laws. Since 1999, all campaign finance reports must be submitted in electronic format (Chapter 473, Acts of 1999). The Division provides free electronic-filing software (ELECTrack) and technical assistance to campaign account treasurers. Data from financial reports are compiled into a master database and are available on the Internet.

The Election Management Division prepares voting materials for both absentee and provisional ballots. To counties, it also provides election-related supplies, such as polling place signs and other items to make polling places accessible.

Created in 2004, the Election Reform Division oversees the implementation of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-252). That act requires states to improve the election process for voters and provides incentives for states to upgrade voting systems. The Division also helps local boards of elections recruit and train election judges and pollworkers.

The Information Technology Division began as the Computer Technology Division and received its present name in 1999.

Formerly the Voter Registration Division, the Voter Registration and Petitions Division organized in 2004. The Division supervises and coordinates the voter registration activities of local boards of elections, and the reporting of voter registration information from other state agencies. As required by the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, the Division developed an automated, centralized, interactive statewide voter registration database, which was implemented in 2006. The Division also conducts voter registration volunteer training, and periodically compiles and makes available voter registration statistics.

Submission of voter petitions for referenda, establishing new political parties, and nominating independent or third party candidates to the ballot, are overseen by the Division.

The Voting Systems and State Procurement Division began as Election Systems. In 1998, it was renamed Voting Systems, and received its present name in 1999. The Division oversees the operation of the statewide uniform computer voting system.

Voting units are tested by the Division which provides them to local boards of elections for use on election day. The Division also oversees the acquisition, upgrade, and use of electronic pollbooks at polling places to verify the names and addresses of eligible voters.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2009

July 1, 2009   
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