Early vot­ing ar­rives

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

Af­ter months on the side­lines watch­ing del­e­gate counts roll in from other states, Mary­lan­ders fi­nally get to have their say in the demo­cratic process when early vot­ing starts Thurs­day.

Cliched as it is, ev­ery vote counts, per­haps more than ever with this slate of pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates — on both sides of the aisle. Not to be alarmists, but there is no deny­ing how in­ter­est­ing this race turned out to be, nor how wide the di­vide is be­tween the can­di­date ide­olo­gies.

Any qual­i­fied voter may cast a bal­lot early be­tween Thurs­day and April 21. Also, per­spec­tive vot­ers may reg­is­ter dur­ing early vot­ing. They should bring with them to the polling place doc­u­men­ta­tion such as a driver’s li­cense or util­ity bill show­ing res­i­dency in the state of Mary­land.

In Ce­cil County, early vot­ing will be held at the Ce­cil County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing, lo­cated at 200 Ch­e­sa­peake Blvd. in Elk­ton. The polls will be open each day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. That in­cludes Satur­day and Sun­day.

In Mary­land, pri­mary vot­ing is party line. Reg­is­tered Repub­li­cans pick be­tween the Repub­li­cans can­di­dates; Democrats vote only for Democrats.

Whether you are a dis­en­chanted Repub­li­can who fears the na­tional con­ven­tion will find some way of keep­ing Don­ald Trump off the bal­lot, or a Demo­crat feel­ing the Bern for Bernie San­ders, but think Hil­lary Clin­ton re­mains the pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee, we still urge you to got to the polls for the pri­mary. It is your chance to push for your can­di­date, rather than leav­ing it all in the hands of the party bosses.

And do not for­get, there are many more can­di­dates on the bal­lot than those run­ning for pres­i­dent.

U.S. Sen. Bar­bara Mikul­ski (D-Md.) is re­tir­ing at the end of her cur­rent term. There are 10 Democrats and 14 Repub­li­cans on the bal­lot who want her Se­nate seat.

Mean­while, U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-1st Dis­trict), the Bal­ti­more County res­i­dent who rep­re­sents the East­ern Shore in Congress, is not re­tir­ing af­ter his cur­rent term. Still, he is be­ing chal­lenged by three fel­low Repub­li­cans in the pri­mary, in­clud­ing for­mer Ce­cil County Del­e­gate Michael Smigiel. A pair of Democrats are fac­ing off in the pri­mary, hop­ing to make it to the Gen­eral Elec­tion and, ul­ti­mately, Congress.

Here in Ce­cil County, the pri­mary is of ut­most im­por­tance, es­pe­cially on the Repub­li­can side of the ticket.

Four men — Alan McCarthy, Dan Sch­neck­en­burger, Gre­gory Mac­Don­ald and Joe Cara­betta — are run­ning for the party’s nom­i­na­tion for county ex­ec­u­tive, the county’s high­est po­si­tion. In­cum­bent County Ex­ec­u­tive Tari Moore chose not to run for re-elec­tion, open­ing the door for a new ad­min­is­tra­tion to guide the county’s fu­ture. The win­ner of the four-man race will face Port De­posit Mayor Wayne Tome, the lone Demo­cratic chal­lenger, in the Gen­eral Elec­tion.

In the county coun­cil races, Repub­li­cans alone will pick the de facto win­ners of two seats. No Democrats vied for the po­si­tions, so the GOP will pick amongst new­com­ers Bob Mef­fley, Jackie Gre­gory, Paul Tra­pani and Tom Cole in the at-large races to head to an un­con­tested Gen­eral Elec­tion. These voices will shape the check-and-bal­ance on our fu­ture county ex­ec­u­tive.

Fi­nally, three can­di­dates in the Dis­trict 2 Ce­cil County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion race will fight to move on to the Gen­eral Elec­tion. Ron Lo­bos, Erin Do­or­dan and Jim Fazz­ino are all vy­ing for a sin­gle seat and only two will ap­pear on the Novem­ber bal­lot. Pri­mary vot­ers may pick up to two of these can­di­dates, re­gard­less of party af­fil­i­a­tion.

For those who will not be home dur­ing early vot­ing or Pri­mary Day, there is still time to re­quest an ab­sen­tee bal­lot. To re­ceive an ab­sen­tee bal­lot by mail or fax, re­quests must be sub­mit­ted by Tues­day, April 19. Re­quests must be in by Fri­day, April 22, for those wish­ing to down­load an ab­sen­tee bal­lot from the Mary­land State Board of Elec­tions web­site.

When Pri­mary Day rolls around Tues­day, April 26, the var­i­ous polling places through­out Ce­cil County will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check with the Ce­cil County Board of Elec­tions for your precinct lo­ca­tion if you do not know where to go.

No mat­ter how you do it, or when you do it, please take the time to vote in the pri­mary. Let your voice be heard.

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