33.17.02.02

.02 Selecting Early Voting Centers.

A. Form for Proposed Early Voting Center.

(1) The State Board shall:

(a) Prescribe a form for a local board to use to provide information about a proposed early voting center; and

(b) Provide each local board with the form at least 1 year before a primary election.

(2) Form Submission for Early Voting Center.

(a) At least 7 months before a primary election, a local board shall submit a form for each proposed early voting center.

(b) If a local board is required to have more than one early voting center, the local board shall:

(i) Complete a form for each proposed early voting center; and

(ii) Submit the forms for each proposed early voting centers at the same time.

B. Contents of Form. The form shall include whether the proposed early voting center:

(1) Will allow a local board to install the required telecommunication needs;

(2) Is of sufficient size and layout to conduct early voting, including adequate access to electricity;

(3) Is accessible or can be made accessible for voters with disabilities;

(4) Is located in the county such that:

(a) In the case of a county that is assigned one early voting center, 50 percent of the registered voters in the county live within 10 miles of the proposed early voting center; or

(b) In the case of a county that is assigned three or five early voting centers, along with the other early voting centers in the county, 80 percent of the registered voters live within 5 miles of one of the early voting centers;

(5) Has the ability to store voting equipment and supplies in a secure location during non-early voting hours;

(6) Can accommodate long lines of voters, including how voters waiting in line are protected against inclement weather;

(7) Is served by public transportation and roads;

(8) Has sufficient and reliable heating and air-conditioning capabilities;

(9) Has parking facilities sufficient for early voting taking into consideration the normal business activities of the proposed early voting center; and

(10) Can accommodate a no electioneering zone as required by Election Law Article, §16-206, Annotated Code of Maryland, exit polling as required by COMAR 33.07.08, and electioneering outside of the no electioneering zone.

C. Additional Information. For each proposed early voting center, a local board shall submit with the form required in §A of this regulation:

(1) A diagram of the facility, including the proposed layout of the voting equipment and electrical and telecommunications connections in the voting area and the proposed locations of the election judges;

(2) The State of Maryland's Accessibility Survey form; and

(3) Digital photographs of the outside of and entrance to the proposed early voting center.

D. Inability to Identify Proposed Early Voting Center. If the proposed early voting center does not meet all of the criteria listed on the form required in §A of this regulation, a local board shall provide on the form:

(1) A list of other facilities that were considered, and why those facilities are not being proposed as early voting centers; and

(2) A description of the factors that mitigate the fact that the proposed early voting center does not meet all of the criteria listed on the form required in §A of this regulation.

E. Use of Local Board Office. If a local board proposes to use the offices of the local board as an early voting center, the local board shall:

(1) Have a clearly marked space for early voting that is distinct and separate from absentee voting that occurs at the office; and

(2) Post signs and include in all election-specific materials the business hours of the local board and the early voting hours.

F. Approval of Early Voting Centers.

(1) Upon receipt of a form for a proposed early voting center, the State Administrator shall review and make a recommendation to the State Board as to whether to accept or reject the proposed early voting center.

(2) The State Board shall:

(a) Vote on a local board's proposed early voting center within 30 days of receipt of the form required in §A of this regulation;

(b) Give deference to a proposed early voting center for which a local board can make the acknowledgments required in §B of this regulation; and

(c) Within 2 days after its vote on a proposed early voting center, notify the local board of this outcome of the State Board's vote.

(3) Upon approval by the State Board, a local board shall include in its disaster recovery plan the name, address, and contact information for the early voting center.

G. Alternate Early Voting Centers.

(1) A local board shall identify an alternate early voting center for use if an approved early voting center becomes unavailable.

(2) A local board shall give preference to the offices of the local board or a government facility when considering the location of an alternate early voting center.

(3) A local board shall identify:

(a) One alternate early voting center if the local board is required to establish one or three early voting centers; or

(b) Two alternate early voting centers if the local board is required to establish five early voting centers.

(4) A local board shall:

(a) At least 3 months before a primary election, complete and submit to the State Administrator the form required by §A of this regulation for each proposed alternate early voting center; and

(b) Upon approval by the State Administrator of the alternate early voting center:

(i) Submit the form to the appropriate local government agencies; and

(ii) Include in its disaster recovery plan the name, address, and contact information for each alternate early voting center, a plan for notifying the public if the alternate center is needed, and a plan for transitioning operations to an alternate center.