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Maryland Department Collection and State Library Resources

How To Become an Informed Voter in Maryland

Active participation of citizens is essential to representative democracy – and voting is key to citizen participation. This guide will help you to understand and become involved in the election process in Maryland.

VOTE

Voter Registration and Voting

To register to vote, you must:

  • Be a US Citizen.
  • Be a Maryland resident.
  • Be at least 16 years old and 18 years old by the next general election.
  • Not have been found by a court to be incapable of voting by reason of mental disability.
  • Not have been convicted of buying or selling votes.
  • Not have been convicted of a felony for which you are currently serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment, including any term of parole or probation.

For information or for answers to questions about voting in Maryland go to the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Your Rights As a Voter

Maryland flag

Maryland Government

  • The Maryland Manual Online is the most comprehensive and continuously updated guide to Maryland state and local government.
  • The Maryland General Assembly will show you everything you need to know about our elected officials, our laws, and the process in which they are made.
  • Who are Your Elected Officials? is a website designed by the state of Maryland to help you find your current officials and your districts.

Political Parties

Currently there are four political parties recognized by the State of Maryland, according to the State Board of Elections.

  1. Democratic Party ( Maryland ) ( National )
  2. Republican Party ( Maryland ) ( National )
  3. Libertarian Party  ( Maryland ) ( National )
  4. Green Party ( Maryland ) ( National )

Politics1's Directory of U.S. Political Parties provides an extensive list of political parties throughout the nation.

Candidates

  • League of Women Voters of Maryland provides voter registration and education with links to candidates for statewide offices and their positions on issues.
  • Project Vote Smart features information about current officeholders and candidates for national and state offices. It also has information on campaign finances, issue positions, voting records, and evaluations by special interest groups.
  • Rock the Vote educates and encourages young people to vote and become involved in the political process.
  • Common Cause, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and has a Web site devoted to all aspects of politics, government and elections.

Campaign Financing

  • The nonpartisan Institute on Money in State Politics focuses on campaign finance data for candidates in state and local elections.
  • The Federal Election Commission is charged with administering and enforcing federal campaign finance laws. You can find finance data for all U.S. House and Senate candidates and contributions to each candidate by political action committees and individual contributors.
  • Open Secrets is one of the most comprehensive guides to campaign finances on the Internet.  This Web site has data on the size and sources of campaign contributions, and allows you to search in reverse to find out all of the candidates that one business or individual has been supporting.

Congressional Voting Records

  • Congress.gov tracks information for, as well as the current legislative activities of, all members of Congress as well as state and local officials nationwide. It also provides directories for officials from the president to local government.
  • Thomas from the Library of Congress is the most comprehensive online source of information on the activities of Congress. You can find the text of current bills before Congress, summaries of bills, their current status, roll call votes and all public laws passed by Congress since 1973.

Contact Us

If you would like to know more, email us through our Ask-A-Librarian service or contact us at:

Maryland Department (state and local voting)
Enoch Pratt Free Library
State Library Resource Center
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 396-5468

Social Science and History Department (federal voting)
Enoch Pratt Free Library
State Library Resource Center
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 396-5321

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