Early-voting tally tops 800,000
More than 20 percent of state’s registered voters got a jump on casting ballots
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.
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.