Marylanders set record during first day of early voting

Friday, October 28, 2016

BY KRISSI HUMBARD — Maryland voters came out in droves for the first day of early voting, setting a new record for highest turnout.

State elections officials reported 122,880 Maryland voters cast ballots statewide Thursday. The previous one-day record for early voting turnout was 107,385 voters, on the last day of early voting in 2012. Thousands of Prince George’s County residents — 22,469, to be exact — voted during the first day at one of the nine early voting locations in the county.

The early voting site nearest to Hyattsville is the College Park Community Center, where 2,300 residents cast a ballot on the first day of early voting. The Maryland State Board of Elections lists all the early voting locations here. Residents have reported that, despite an overcrowded parking lot, voting at that location took about 15 minutes Thursday.

Early voting, which began at 8 a.m. on Thursday, will run through Nov. 3. Early voting locations will remain open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. every day until Nov. 3.

Registered voters have always been able to vote during early voting, but now individuals who are eligible but not yet registered can register and vote. To register and vote during early voting, go to an early voting center in the county where you live and bring proof of residence. The proof of residence can be an MVA-issued license, ID card, or change of address card, or paycheck, bank statement, utility bill, or other government document with your name and new address. You will be able to register to vote and vote.

There is more to the ballot than just choosing the next president and vice president. There is also a U.S. Senate seat up for grabs, a race for a Representative in Congress, races for judges, a constitutional amendment, and various referendums to vote on. The League of Women Voters compiles detailed information on the candidates and the local ballot in their Vote411 online voter guide. All statements and videos are posted directly by the candidate, unedited by the League of Women Voters.

Voters will cast paper ballots this year, a change from previous elections. The Maryland General Assembly passed a law in 2007 requiring the State Board of Elections to switch to a paper ballot voting system. Funding for the new system had been delayed until now. Voters with disabilities will be able to use a touchscreen ballot marking device.

Want to take a voting selfie? Great! But handheld electronics and recording devices may not be used inside voting centers and polling places. Voters may take pictures outside of the polling place or early voting center with a sample ballot. Use the official Maryland election hashtag #MDvotes2016 and the local hashtag #HVLvotes to share your photos!

For more information about early voting, visit the Maryland State Board of Elections website.