Strong turnout reported as Wicomico voting begins

On the first day of early voting in Maryland, voters lined up early Monday at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

Voters across Maryland turned out in record numbers on Monday, the first day of early voting, surpassing the previous record set in 2016, according to state elections officials.

In Wicomico County, about 2,600 people cast votes at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center, the county’s only early voting location, said Anthony Gutierrez, elections supervisor for the county.

About 200 people were already waiting in line when the poll opened at 7 a.m. Monday, he said. At times, the line – in which voters were asked to stand 6 feet apart as a precaution against Covid-19 – extended out the door and down the sidewalk to Glen Avenue.

By lunchtime, roughly 1,200 people had voted. Gutierrez called it “a very good turnout.”

Statewide, there was an unofficial voter turnout of more than 161,000 which was the highest single-day early voting turnout in the state’s history. The total surpassed the previous unofficial single-day early voting record of 143,494 set on the final day of early voting in the 2016 general election, state elections officials said.

“(Monday’s) record-setting total is in addition to the more than 1.6 million voters who requested a mail-in ballot and the roughly 830,000 who have already submitted them,” said Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone. “We are equally pleased that nearly 1,000 people took advantage of same-day registration today in order to cast their ballots.”

Wicomico County sent out 16,832 mail-in ballots and as of Monday has had 11,323 returned via mail or through one of the four drop boxes located at the Wicomico County Board of Elections Office, Wicomico Youth & Civic Center, Wicomico County Tourism Center and the Pittsville Volunteer Fire Department.

Early voting will continue daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., through Monday, Nov. 2, at the civic center. The best time to vote in person is on a weekday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., elections officials said.

Voters may also take advantage of in-person voting on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.at one of Wicomico County “vote centers” located at the Civic Center as well as six other locations in the county: James M. Bennett and Mardela high schools, Salisbury and Bennett middle schools, and Beaver Run and Pemberton elementary schools.

Vote centers are a new concept in Maryland this year. County residents may go to any vote center in the county rather than report to an assigned polling place near their home as they have in previous elections.

Voters who opt for in-person voting must wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between other individuals. Voters can expect long lines as they wait for elections officials to clean voting equipment after every voter and frequently wash their hands.

For voters who missed the advance voter registration deadline, same-day registration will be available at early voting and Election Day vote centers. To prove their place of residence, Marylanders registering in person will need to bring their Motor Vehicle Administration-issued driver’s license, identification card or change of address card, or a paycheck, bank statement, utility bill or other government document that includes the voter’s name and new address.

For more information, voters may contact the Wicomico County Board of Elections at 410-548-4830 or the State Board of Elections at 1-800-222-VOTE (8683) or visit elections.maryland.gov.

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