Early voting still breaking records in sixth day
— After nearly six days of early voting, the county is on pace to have 10 percent of its registereded voters cast their ballots before Election Day.
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, a total of 6,599 of the county’s 71,971 registered voters had cast ballots in Cecil County, which is five times more than the total of 1,288 voters who cast votes over a total of six days of early voting in 2010, the first year it was implemented, and 60 percent more than who
voted early in 2014.
Two more full days of early voting remain before ballots are totaled.
The first day of early voting last Thursday broke county records but by midday Tuesday, voters were still steadily arriving at the County Administration Building in Elkton to participate in early voting, which ends at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Those who forego early voting will still be able to vote from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8, at 21 designated polling places throughout Cecil County.
Although there were no long lines of people waiting to vote Tuesday, observers said the traffic continues to be busy this week.
“We were a little slow over the weekend, which we fully anticipated, but it’s picked up again Monday and Tuesday,” Cecil County Election Director Debbie Towery said Tuesday late morning.
The county’s registered voters have increased from 70,040 in the 2012 presidential election to 71,971 this election. Registered Republicans increased from 27,062
in 2012 to 30,008 in 2016, while registered Democrats declined from 27,209 in 2012 to 25,166 in 2016. The number of voters who registered as “other” increased from 15,769 in 2012 to 16,797 in 2016.
Under a recent change to election laws, unregistered voters can register during early voting at the County Administration Building in Elkton, but they
must have proper identification with them, such as a driver’s license or valid photo ID with documents showing their address.
Of the total votes cast as of 11 a. m. Tuesday, Democrats cast 2,537, Republicans cast 3,097 and those registered as “other” cast a total of 965 ballots.
Campaigning outside of the County Administration Building has been meager this election, likely due to a lack of competition in local races. Only two local races are contested: the county executive race between Republican Alan McCarthy and
Democrat Wayne Tome and the District 1 school board race between incumbent William Manlove and challenger Kevin Emmerich.
Although the usual plethora of campaign signs line both sides of Chesapeake Boulevard leading up to the early voting site, the number of actual candidates or their supporters waving at voters as they arrive has been notably sparse.
The allure of the deeply partisan presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump has
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.
Cecil County was also one of the few Maryland counties to back U. S. Sen. Bernie Sanders with a slight edge over the future nominee Hillary Clinton.
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.
Election workers help voters Tuesday during early voting in Elkton.