ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Voters in Maryland will have the option of dropping their ballots off at hundreds of drop boxes rather than mailing them in or casting them in person, the state’s elections board said Wednesday.

At least 270 ballot drop boxes will be sent out across the state ahead of the fall general election, up from 75 during the primary election.

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The elections board said those ballot drop boxes will be distributed beginning at the end of September. A full list of locations will be available at a later time.

With an expected surge in mail-in voting this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, election officials will be able to begin canvassing mail-in ballots as early as October 1, the board said. The results will not be made public until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

“I think this is going to help tremendously,” board vice chairman P.J. Hogan said.

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The moves come as post offices across the country battle with mail delays and uncertainty about ballots arriving on time to be counted.

Board members said they expect half of voters to send their ballots by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, and they want to do whatever they can to speed up the process and make sure all ballots are counted.

“I think this is a historical election,” Hogan said. “I think we’re going to have a historical turnout.”

So far, more than 262,000 Maryland voters have requested mail-in ballots. Those ballots will begin to be printed on September 3 and be mailed out shortly thereafter.

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Ballot applications will be mailed to four million registered voters beginning on Monday through the end of the month. Ballots will become available in early October.

Kelsey Kushner