BOWIE, Md. (DC News Now) — Early voting in Maryland wrapped up Thursday evening, and hundreds of voters turned up at the polls across Prince George’s County. Election officials said the turnout within the past 7 days was low, but that was mainly due to the various voting options Maryland offers.
Many people showed up to the City of Bowie Gymnasium to cast their ballot for the 2022 Gubernatorial election.
“It’s easy, it’s convenient, it’s nice, it’s been great. I’ve done it for the last 5 elections and it’s been fantastic,” said voter Tracie Crandall.
“I wanted to get it out the way with it being the last day,” said voter Ricardo Williams.
Within the first week of early voting, only 6.46% of the voting population voted in person, which is much lower than in 2018.
“The numbers are very low, but again they’re offset by the mail-in ballots,” said Alisha Alexander, elections administrator for the Prince George’s County Board of Elections. “Those individuals who voted by mail in 2020 decided that that was a better way to vote from the comfort of their home, put their ballot in either to Dropbox or the mailbox, and they voted.”
Alexander says she thinks the voting numbers from Thursday will be much higher.
“The last day of early voting will be very, very busy because many people do wait until the last day to vote early,” she said.
In Bowie, there was also major campaigning, including an appearance by Dan Cox, the Republican candidate for governor. Long lines formed inside the building as people came out to vote.
“I thought I would beat the rush, but obviously not. It’s awesome, though, I’m glad that a lot of people are voting early,” said first-time early voter Andrea Jackson.
This year’s ballot is one of the longest in Maryland’s history. Board of Election officials says it’s their biggest challenge and could cause delays.
“The ballot is four pages, and that’s something that we historically have never had to deal with before. The sheer volume of paper, it may take voters some time to go through the ballot each of the four pages front and back, and read the questions,” she said.
Compared to Virginia, Maryland only offers one week for early voting and some voters believe it should be longer.
“I think 2 weeks of early voting would be good because people have different situations and I think it would be great if they have two weeks to work with and not just one,” said Jackson.
“There’s so many ways to vote in the state of Maryland if a voter does not have the time to go to the polls, and he or she can certainly request a mail-in ballot,” said Alexander.
Voters can also request a ballot via e-mail by midnight on friday or go to your county election office and pick up a ballot. It will be counted as long as it’s submitted by november 8th.