Maryland early voting sees drop in numbers, mail-in ballots increase

MARYLAND – 172,000 Marylanders flocked to the polls during the 8-day stretch of early voting for the 2022 Primary Election.

It’s a number down by nearly 40,000 in comparison to 2018 according to the Maryland State Board of Elections.

We’re told a big factor playing into those numbers is the increase in mail-in ballot requests. “Four years ago we had something like 40,000 mail-in ballots requested. This election we have over half a million,” Deputy Administrator¬† t the Maryland State Board of Elections Deputy Administrator Nikki Charlson said.¬†

It’s not uncommon for gubernatorial elections to see low turnouts, which officials say stands true in Wicomico County as only 4.5% (or 2,900) of eligible voters made their way to the ballot box.

While this may seem low, we’re told that number is up from four years ago. “Our turnout in 2018 was approximately 3.8% and a number of around 2000 voters,” Wicomico County Board of Elections Deputy Director Dionne Church.¬†

Both county and state officials agree that the early voting period isn’t a true indicator of what traffic or overall turnout will look like come the 19th. “So its hard to know whether the voters who voted in early voting four years are now choosing to vote by mail. We’re just going to have to wait and get through election day,” Charlson said.

“Voters do like to go to their assigned polling places. So I do think overall the turnout will increase,” Church said.

The work isn’t done once all votes have been cast on Tuesday, as that’s when counting begins.

It’s a process the state board of elections says can could take days or even weeks after election day.”Some of the larger counties might need to take some more days to finish counting. So just be patient and wait for the process to work and you will know who the winner is once all the ballots are counted,” Charlson said.

Officials also say they expect this year’s counting process to take a little bit longer due to that increase in mail-in ballots, but they say they’re prepared for that challenge.

Officials want to remind you that the most important thing on Election Day is knowing where to vote.

You should vote at the polling place that’s assigned to your address, as that’s where your ballot will be.

To access that poll locator click here

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