More than 161,000 Marylanders turned out for the state’s first day of early voting Monday, setting a record for the most ballots cast in a single day of early voting in state history, according to the state Board of Elections. About 1.1 million Marylanders have voted so far.
The previous record of 143,494 early voters on a single day was set on the last day of early voting in 2016’s general election.
Baltimore voters also topped the city’s 2016 first-day early voting turnout record by 22% on Monday. The city board of election said 11,411 city voters cast a ballot on Monday, compared to 9,318 on the comparable 2016 day. Historically, the first and last days of early voting are the busiest in Maryland.
The earliest voters braved a dark, foggy morning to line up well ahead of 7 a.m, when centers across the state opened. That included Jo Ann West, who was first in line at Honeygo Run Community Center in Perry Hall. She arrived at 3:30 a.m.
The White Marsh resident runs an assisted living facility for veterans and needed to accompany one of them to vote in Baltimore later that morning.
“I know I’m going to be in two lines today, so I did myself first and then I’ll go do my resident,” West said.
Tuesday was a generally smooth day for early voting, especially compared to this year’s primary Election Day, when voters had only one day to cast a ballot in person and faced hours-long lines throughout the state — as well as ballot errors in parts of Baltimore.
The first day of early voting saw some lines throughout the Baltimore region approach the 90-minute mark, while many had voters in and out in under 15 minutes, all while voters and election judges practiced social distancing.
Ty Quan, the chief election judge at New Era Academy in Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood, said polling centers are stocked with cleaning materials.
“All of our judges have on face shields, and we have masks and we have gloves, hand sanitizer, we have wipes to wipe down the machines after use, we’re swapping out pens,” Quan said. “We’re not letting any judge, any voter reuse any of the same materials.”
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