From a friend of CCDWC who took the Election Judge course:
"I served today at the Calvert Board of Elections (BoE) as a canvassing judge and learned several bits of information that I think that you should know:
· Submit mail-in ballots as soon as possible! Ms. Gail Hatfield, the Calvert Elections Administrator reported this morning that the BoE has mailed out some 19,000 ballots, but, to date, has received and canvassed only 4,700 or so. While most of us sit back and think that there are some 21 days left before the election, so we have plenty of time to get in our ballots. Ms. Hatfield reported that, historically, most mail-in ballots do not arrive until the last day or two before an election. If that practice continues this year, the BoE will not be able to canvass the mail-in ballots that arrive during Early Voting because the in-person voting will take place in the same location in which ballots are now being counted. So we actually have only 11 or 12 days for the BoE to count our ballots before the election (late-arriving ballots, of course, will still be counted after the election, but that could take a lot longer).
While I was very impressed by the professionalism and thoroughness of BoE officials today in processing the 1,500 ballots we canvassed today, I also observed how long it took to count today’s batch. It took six of us roughly three hours to canvass 1,500 ballots. We had no major glitches and worked relatively quickly, but it still averaged only 83 votes per person per hour. If voters do not soon start to return their ballots either by mail or drop box, the Calvert BoE could face significant delay in certifying the Calvert ballot count. The bottom line for avoiding/minimizing this problem is for us to GET YOUR VOTES IN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
· Write or print your name clearly in the outside of your envelope. Now that I’ve seen how the BoE checks for signatures on ballots, I realize that they are not being overly solicitous about spellings and punctuation. They are just checking to insure that you are registered as a voter in Calvert County. They can’t do that if your signature is just a squiggly line and your printed name has no more clarity than a sea gull dropping on our docks. Make sure that your name is clear on the envelope and your vote will be counted.
· Follow the guidelines for marking your ballot. Several voters marked their ballot choices with x’s or check marks. If the BoE has the time, they seem to try to credit the voters’ wishes, but, if they have to process thousands of ballots in a short time, they may not have that luxury. Please fill in the bullets for your choices in black ink.
· Changing a marked ballot. Should you find that you either accidentally marked your ballot incorrectly or want to change your vote, you may do so by putting an x through the wrong choice and marking the correct choice with a properly filled in bullet. Annotate the bullet you crossed out with a short note along the lines of “Changed vote” and initial that note. Obviously, that should not be a common practice, but, given the stakes in this election, we want to make sure that every vote counts.
I hope that you find this information helpful."