Early in-person voting started today, Monday, October 26 in Maryland. Eligible voters can cast their ballot at any authorized voting location within their jurisdiction of residence.
As of 4 p.m. Baltimore City Board of Elections said 7,734 people cast their ballots in-person.
Among them was husband and wife Michael and Sandy Lisicky. They said their experience voting at Dempsey's Brew Pub at Camden Yards was relatively easy.
"I thought it was a very smooth process," said Sandy. "There was just something in my psyche that I wanted to really get this, everything that was in me out on my vote so I was really happy to be here on the first day and to see that it was going so smoothly and look at everyone else the was here."
"We were probably here for about 35 minutes," said Michael. "Everyone seems to be prepared and distance. Seems fine to me. This is the first day, this seems safe vote, there’s no reason not to."
Camden Yards was one of eight in-person polling locations in operation through November 2.
"This election is so important," said Rita Evans.
Evans showed up with her family. She said even with the threat of COVID-19 she wouldn't miss the opportunity to cast her vote.
"I've never experienced anything like this pandemic in my life," said Evans. "That's why I have on two masks and a visor."
Tia Dingle brought plenty of hand sanitizer to wipe things down after casting her vote.
"They're making sure everyone is keeping their distance inside the polling place," said Dingle. "They have hand sanitizer as well I just prefer to use my own."
Safety protocols are in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Individual polling places have their own rules but masks are required. People standing in line are asked to practice safe social distancing.
Given the political climate, experts are predicating an unusually high turnout of voters.
Yesterday, Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted S a message encouraging people to vote early and at off-peak times to limit crowds and wait times.
Doctors are also reminding people to be mindful when entering polling places, adding sites are relatively safe.
"I would encourage people to maintain the basics," said Dr. Daniel J. Morgan, professor of Epidemiology & Public Health at the University of Maryland. "Stay attentive to what's happing and your distance between others."
Morgan also said your plan before and after the polls can help prevent the spread of sickness.
"This would include being mindful of how you get to you polling site," he said. "Are you travelling by yourself or going with others? Do you go to out to eat after voting? The most important thing we’re dealing with right now is voting in the pandemic and how can we do both of those without compromising safety of people or the safety of fair elections."
Voters at Camden Yards told WMAR-2 News they felt safe during the voting process.
"They were very sufficient in there about keeping things clean and making sure everyone has everything that they need," said Daniel Dingle.
"There was no bad behaviors, nothing," said Michael Lisicky. "No one had to ask to move away it was all good. It was a good experience. There’s no reason not to come out and vote."
To find an early polling place near you click this link