Early voting numbers increase statewide in Md.

Posted at 6:19 PM, Apr 21, 2016

Maryland voters have cast early ballots in record numbers as the state's primary election day approaches.

More than 200,000 people had cast early ballots in the first seven days of early voting, statewide elections officials said. Polls were set to close at 8 p.m. Thursday for the eighth and final day of early voting.

More voters turned out in Carroll County in the first seven days of early voting than during all eight days of early voting in 2014, officials said.

"We are just over 4,500 [voters] as of (Wednesday's) total, so we've had a steady flow," said Katherine Berry, the elections director for the Carroll County Board of Elections.

Berry said there hadn't been any major issues to report as of Thursday afternoon, and  in the first statewide election where voters have switched from machines to cast ballots to paper using ballots, the rising voter tally continued to surprise even veteran poll workers.

"The first few days, it was 700-and-some, and we had a little drop over the weekend, but now it's way into the 800's," said Bob Anderson, an early voting chief election judge for the county.

As of Wednesday's polls closing, 4,500 voters in Carroll had voted; In Montgomery County, home to the state's largest population, nearly 34,000 people had voted; Baltimore County had 31,000 people vote early; in Howard County, almost 15,000 had voted.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, the state elections board reported 29,000 had voted across Maryland that day alone.

"It's a great way to come, and you don't have to wait in line," Berry said.

Some speculated that the warm weather hadn't hurt turnout, either.

Anderson was optimistic that Thursday would provide greater opportunity for people to vote.

"People know they're going to have to stand in the long lines, come Tuesday," he said.

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