Early voting arrives
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.