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Absentee ballot application deadline looms

Washington County board of elections must have forms by Feb. 5

Washington County board of elections must have forms by Feb. 5

January 29, 2008|JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Washington County voters who want to apply by mail or fax for absentee ballots for the Feb. 12 primary election must do so by Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The county board of elections must receive mailed applications by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 5; faxed applications must arrive by 11:59 p.m.

After Feb. 5, application requests must be made in person at the board of elections at 35 W. Washington St., Room 101, in Hagerstown.

Applications can be downloaded from the Maryland Board of Elections' Web site at www.elections.state.md.us.

They can also be requested from the county board of elections in person or by phone at 240-313-2050.

Washington County Board of Elections Director Dorothy M. Kaetzel said voters who request absentee ballots will be required to affirm on their applications that they will either be out of the county or otherwise unable to vote on election day.

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She said the requirement marks a change from the 2006 elections, when anyone could apply for an absentee ballot without a reason.

Before the 2006 general election, former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. and other state officials urged Maryland voters to abandon electronic voting machines in favor of paper absentee ballots.

The push from state officials that year came after problems with electronic voting machines arose across the country during 2006 primary elections.

Now, however, absentee voters in Maryland must affirm under penalty of perjury that they will either be out of the county or unable to vote in person on election day, Kaetzel said.

On election day, absentee voters who submit their ballots by hand must do so by 8 p.m., Kaetzel said. If mailed, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Feb. 12.

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