County voter reg­is­tra­tion up 10 per­cent

Dead­line to reg­is­ter is Oct. 18

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CH­ERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ ce­cil­whig. com

— With a lit­tle less than two weeks left to reg­is­ter, the num­ber of vot­ers in the county is al­ready up more than 10 per­cent over the last gen­eral elec­tion.

Voter reg­is­tra­tion fig­ures as of Sept. 1 show a to­tal of 70,901 reg­is­tered vot­ers in Ce­cil County, an in­crease from the 64,234

ELKTON

reg­is­tered vot­ers in the 2014 gen­eral elec­tion.

“I ex­pect a big­ger turnout at the polls this year be­cause it’s a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year,” Ce­cil County Elec­tion Di­rec­tor Deb­bie Tow­ery said last week.

The lat­est reg­is­tra­tion fig­ures in­di­cate Repub­li­cans con­tinue to out­num­ber Democrats in Ce­cil County by 4,444. All po­lit­i­cal par­ties showed reg­is­tra­tion in­creases since 2014 though, with the largest in­crease com­ing from Repub­li­cans with 2,508 ad­di­tional vot­ers reg­is­ter­ing while 2,026 more reg­is­tered as unaf fil­i­ated and 2,019 more reg­is­tered as Demo­crat. And those num­bers could still go up as vot­ers have un­til 9 p. m. Oct. 18 to reg­is­ter.

Next month’s elec­tion will also mark the sec­ond go- round for the state’s new vot­ing sys­tem, which was im­ple­mented for the first time dur­ing this year’s April

pri­mary elec­tion. Maryland vot­ers will now cast their vote us­ing pa­per bal­lots as par t of a statewide move to cre­ate a ver­i­fi­able pa­per trail for bet­ter re­li­a­bil­ity of elec­tion re­sults. That sys­tem re­places touch­screen vot­ing ma­chines that have been used in the state for the last 10 years.

“My staff and I are mak­ing sure the new sys­tem runs smoothly for the gen­eral elec­tion,” Tow­ery said, not­ing she

has also hired 10 lo­cal peo­ple to ser ve as field sup­port on elec­tion day. “They’ll each be as­signed to two polling places to do trou­ble- shoot­ing for us.”

Tow­ery en­listed re­cruit­ment help from Ce­cil Col­lege and Susque­hanna Work­force Net­work to line up the field sup­port team.

“I wanted to use the com­mu­nity,” she said.

De­spite some needs for elec­tion day judges lead­ing up to the pri­mar y elec­tion this spring, Tow­ery said she has a full set of 300 judges hired for the gen­eral elec­tion and their train­ing is nearly com­plete.

The elec­tion of­fice will be ex­tra busy daily be­tween now and Nov. 18 when elec­tion re­sults are of­fi­cially cer ti­fied. But the elec­tion of­fice staf f works hard all year keep­ing records up to date, reg­is­ter­ing vot­ers, hir­ing and train­ing elec­tion judges, keep­ing up with changes in the elec­tion laws and mak­ing sure the pub­lic is aware of any changes.

“If you re­quested an ab­sen­tee bal­lot in the pri­mar y elec­tion for both elec­tions, your bal­lot was mailed last week,” said Bobi Jo Wil­son, elec­tion ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant.

The dead­line to re­quest an

ab­sen­tee bal­lot by mail is Nov. 1, while the on­line dead­line is Nov. 4 and vot­ers can make the re­quest in per­son at the of­fice in the county ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing in Elkton un­til 8 p. m. Nov. 8.

Sam­ple bal­lots will be mailed on Oct. 10 and 18.

Ce­cil County vot­ers can be­gin cast­ing bal­lots dur­ing eight con­sec­u­tive days of early vot­ing that runs from Thurs­day, Oct. 27, through Thurs­day, Nov. 3, at one polling place in the Elk Room of the County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing, lo­cated at 200 Ch­e­sa­peake Blvd. in Elkton. Hours

for early vot­ing in the gen­eral elec­tion will now be two hours ear­lier, open­ing at 8 a. m. Early vot­ing ends at 8 p. m. dur­ing the eight days.

Tues­day, Nov. 8, is gen­eral elec­tion day at 21 polling places through­out Ce­cil County with polls open from 7 a. m. to 8 p. m.

For Tow­ery, it’s now been al­most three years since she was hired to head up the elec­tion of­fice and she’s look­ing for­ward to next month’s elec­tion.

“I’m ex­cited for this elec­tion,” she said. “I’m a lot more com­fort­able now.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Maryland Sec­re­tary of La­bor, Li­cens­ing and Reg­u­la­tion Kelly Schulz, cen­ter, talks to stu­dents in Ce­cil Col­lege’s com­mer­cial truck driver train­ing pro­gram.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Vot­ers fill out their bal­lots dur­ing the 2016 pri­mary elec­tion in April. Voter reg­is­tra­tion is up 10 per­cent in the county ahead of the gen­eral elec­tion next month.

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