Early Voting in Maryland ended yesterday, and official records indicate that the turnout topped all expectations.
According to Cheemoandia Blake, Kent County Director of Elections, 2,999 county voters, 22.8% of those registered, had cast their ballots as of the close of voting at 8:00 pm on Thursday, Nov. 1.
For comparison, in the 2014 gubernatorial election, 1,969 county voters took part in early voting, for a 15.47% turnout. This year’s total nearly matches that in 2016 — a presidential election, when turnout is almost always higher — when the county saw 3,364 early voters, nearly 26% of those eligible.
As of the close of polls on Tuesday, the early voting totals included 1,249 Democrats, 756 Republicans, and 295 others — including Green, Libertarian, and unaffiliated voters. The total accounts for 20% of registered Democrats, 15.5% of Republicans, and 12.7% of other voters. On the final day of voting, 442 voters appeared at the polls, of whom 242 were Democrats, 146 Republicans, and 54 other parties or unaffiliated. These figures represent party registration only; how they actually voted won’t be known until the complete vote is tabulated after the close of polls Tuesday.
As of the end of September, there were 13,139 voters registered in the county. The total does not include new voters who registered during early voting, although that number is not expected to be large. Under Maryland law, 17-year-olds are allowed to register and vote in early voting, as long as their 18th birthday occurs before Election Day, Nov. 6.
New voters needed to register by Nov. 1 to vote on Election Day. A proposed amendment for Maryland’s state constitution on this year’s ballot would allow voters to register and vote on Election Day in future elections.
Early voting was reportedly heavy throughout Maryland, with more than twice the number who cast early ballots in the 2014 gubernatorial election having voted by Thursday, according to an article in the Baltimore Sun. National reports indicate a similarly large turnout in other states.