Early-vot­ing tally tops 800,000

More than 20 per­cent of state’s reg­is­tered vot­ers got a jump on cast­ing bal­lots

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Luke Broad­wa­ter lbroad­wa­ter@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/ luke­broad­wa­ter

Mary­land early-vot­ing turnout surged past 800,000 on Thurs­day — the fi­nal day to cast bal­lots be­fore the gen­eral elec­tion.

With lines re­ported into the night at some polling places Thurs­day, at least 150,970 had checked in to vote by 10:15 p.m.

The record turnout for early vot­ing, el­e­vated by more vot­ing lo­ca­tions and days to vote, means more than 20 per­cent of the state’s reg­is­tered vot­ers will have cast bal­lots be­fore Elec­tion Day on Tues­day.

“It’s been go­ing at a good clip,” said Linda H. La­mone, Mary­land’s elec­tions ad­min­is­tra­tor. “I think it’s ex­cit­ing. We do all this work to get ready for an elec­tion, and to have all these peo­ple par­tic­i­pate is just won­der­ful.”

The turnout has been par­tic­u­larly strong among Democrats. Democrats have cast about three times as many bal­lots as Repub­li­cans. Democrats out­num­ber Repub­li­cans 2-1 in Mary­land.

Many Mary­lan­ders have been mo­ti­vated to vote in the hotly con­tested pres­i­den­tial race be­tween Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump — more than the 430,500 Mary­lan­ders who took ad­van­tage of early vot­ing dur­ing the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in 2012.

De­spite the crowds, elec­tion of­fi­cials have re­ported no se­ri­ous is­sues. Baltimore elec­tions di­rec­tor Arm­stead B.C. Jones Sr. said the city’s board of elec­tions pre­pared well for early vot­ing and has enough judges ready for Tues­day’s gen­eral elec­tion.

Baltimore’s pri­mary elec­tion in April was marred by re­ports of judges who didn’t show up for work and 1,650 bal­lots that were han­dled im­prop­erly.

Mayor Stephanie Rawl­ings-Blake, who cast her bal­lot dur­ing early vot­ing, said there were long lines but few com­plaints among vot­ers.

“It def­i­nitely seemed like there were more judges,” she said. “From talk­ing to Arm­stead, they were still do­ing train­ing to en­sure there were even more judges for Tues­day. I was pleased about that.”

In ad­di­tion to the pres­i­den­tial race, Mary­land vot­ers are cast­ing bal­lots in the race for U.S. Se­nate, Congress, Baltimore mayor and other lo­cal of­fices.

AMY DAVIS/BALTIMORE SUN

Vot­ers wait in line Thurs­day to vote at the League for Peo­ple with Dis­abil­i­ties polling site on Cold Spring Lane. Thurs­day was the last day for early vot­ing. More than 20 per­cent of the state’s reg­is­tered vot­ers will have cast bal­lots be­fore Elec­tion Day on Tues­day.

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