First day of early voting tops 2010 total
— The Cecil County Board of Elections had to add four additional voting machines to accommodate long lines Thursday in the first hours of early voting.
A total of 11 machines were steadily busy Thursday as eight days of early voting began at the County
Administration Building on Chesapeake Boulevard in Elkton.
“I’m so excited to see how many people are coming out for early voting,” Election Director Debbie Towery said Thursday, noting the line extended down the center hall most of the day. “We were prepared for the rain today and allowed people waiting in line to come inside.”
Thirty-four voters were
lined up when the polls opened at 8 a.m., but the line grew quickly, election judges reported.
As of 5 p.m. on the first day of early voting, Towery said a total of 1,483 registered voters had cast their votes — 13 percent more than the 1,288 total ballots cast in six days of early voting in 2010, the first year it was implemented.
Of the 1,483 votes cast, 587 were Democrats, 692 were Republicans and 294 were other, according to Towery. In 2014, early votes totaled 2,229.
The allure of the deeply partisan presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump surely helped draw in the record number of voters. It will be interesting to see the effect of the campaign on Cecil County’s growing number of Republican voters, who backed Trump with 7,557 primary votes but also gave more than 4,000 votes to candidates like John Kasich and Ted Cruz. Voters will also have choices in Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green candidate Jill Stein for president.
In the House of Representatives, incumbent Republican U. S. Rep. Andy Harris, of Baltimore County, is opposed by Democrat Joe Werner, of Harford County, and Libertarian Matt Beers, of Cecil County, in the District 1 race. Finally, in the race to replace outgoing Sen. Barbara Mikulski, voters will choose from Democratic U. S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Republican State Delegate Kathy Szeliga and Green party candidate Margaret Flowers.
On ballots, county voters will find a somewhat smaller selection of races than in years past on the local front. Democrats did not field candidates for either county council race, so Republican candidates Bob Meffley and Jackie Gregory only have to survive long-shot write-in candidates to win their respective races. In the District 2 board of education race, Jim Fazzino’s opponent, Erin Doordan, dropped out of the race following the primary election, also leaving him only opposed by a write-in candidate.
Meanwhile, voters will have choices for county executive where Republican candidate Alan McCarthy, who currently serves as vice president of the county council, will face Democrat Wayne Tome, who currently serves as mayor of Port Deposit. In board of education District 1, incumbent board member William Manlove is opposed by newcomer Kevin Emmerich.
Also on ballots will be two questions for voters.
The first is whether to approve a new 10-year term for at-large Maryland Court of Special Appeals Judge Dan Friedman. Appointed to the state’s second highest court in 2014 by thenGov. Martin O’Malley, Friedman served as assistant attorney general from 2008 to 2014.
The second question asks voters whether to amend the state constitution to require the governor to select from a list of candidates provided by a political party when filling vacancies of either Maryland’s attorney general or comptroller. Currently, the governor is not bound by law to appoint a replacement from the same political party as the previous official.
The polls reopen Friday at 8 a.m. and will remain open until 8 p.m.
For those who prefer waiting until Election Day on Nov. 8, they can cast their ballots at one of 21 polling places throughout Cecil County, which will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sample ballots have already been mailed out to all registered voters listing their designated polling place.