To the news that the first day of early voting shattered previous county records. With several hours still to go in the first day, 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. The excitement started early, as 34 voters were lined up when the polls opened at 8 a.m. and more quickly joined the ranks. Within the first few hours, the Cecil County Board of Elections had to add four additional voting machines to accommodate long lines. Surely the deeply partisan presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump helped draw in the record number of voters. But we’ll be interested to see if these early ballots will help sway any down-ballot races, including local ones like county executive or board of education. Most importantly, however, residents are definitely exercising their civic voice this year, and we encourage everyone to cast a ballot this year with so many important races listed.
To the completion of the $33.2 million project to upgrade the Northeast River Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant at Seneca Point, which probably didn’t receive the public fanfare that it deserved. The project, which was years in the works, enhances nutrient removal standards to not only meet state law, but also set Cecil County up for future growth. The Maryland Department of the Environment has mandated that the 67 plants in the state that are permitted to treat 500,000 gallons or more daily, including Seneca Point, must upgrade by Jan. 1. It’s all part of a larger effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay by restricting the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus entering its tributaries from sewage treatment plants. Aside from its environmental benefits, the upgrade increases sewer capacity, allowing new development opportunities in the Route 40 corridor. Kudos to the hard work by the Cecil County Department of Public Works and partners for completing this project on time.