Early voting in Maryland is now under way

Early voting in Maryland begins today, Thursday, as the June 26 primary election nears.

The opportunity to cast ballots ahead of time will continue for eight days, until June 21, including the weekend, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Midway Room of the Wicomico Civic Center.

Voting may be done in person or by absentee ballot, due by June 26. Registration ended on June 5.

In advance of the Nov. 6 general election, early voting will be Thursday, Oct. 25 through Thursday, Nov. 1.  Absentee ballots must be returned by Nov. 6. Voter registration ends Oct. 16.

Maryland voters, in 2008, approved a constitutional amendment to allow early voting. It began with the 2010 primaries.

“A lot of our voters appreciate the fact that they can come in early, including evenings and weekends. That’s more convenient for people who travel or have jobs or have a lot of things going on,” said Anthony Gutierrez, director of the Wicomico County Board of Elections.

This year, Board of Education members will be elected for the first time, in a non-partisan race. Previously, they were appointed by the governor.

The number of candidates filing determines whether there will be a primary. In Districts 1 and 4 there were enough candidates to trigger a primary, Gutierrez explained.

Not enough candidates filed at-large or in Districts 2 and 3.

“The three people running in each contest will be narrowed down to two after the primary, and those two will be on the November ballot along with a write-in line,” Gutierrez said.

Green Party, Libertarian Party and other third-party voters can participate in the primary if they live in Districts 1 or 4.

All early voting centers and most polling places in Maryland are handicapped accessible.

While federal law requires Montgomery County to provide materials in Spanish, and they may be available in other jurisdictions, Wicomico County is not required to have ballots in any language other than English

To register to vote in Maryland, one must be a U.S. citizen, at least 16 years old but 18 prior to the next election, live in the state, not have been convicted of buying or selling votes and not have been convicted of a felony, unless he has completed a sentence of imprisonment.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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