Voters hit the polls early as Md. Primary Election Day approaches
SALISBURY, Md. – Lining the streets and sidewalks of the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center are hundreds of campaign signs. Voters have many candidates to choose from in the upcoming Maryland Primary Election. But for those who have already made their choice, the ballot box is open and ready for citizens to cast their votes.
Yovanda Brown, an early voter, says she chose to hit the ballot box ahead of time to avoid crowds. “I decided to early vote because it’s important, and your voice has power. So, to come out and early vote was something I desired to do because I didn’t want to be in a rush,” she said. “I would say come on out. It’s not that busy. You can do it on your lunch break. That’s what I’m doing.”
And for Linda Twilley, early voting served as an opportunity to take care of business before her summer plans heat up. “I probably will not be in town for the regular election. So, this gives me an opportunity to come out and cast my vote, and still be able to do the things I wanted to do for the rest of the summer,” she said. “You’ve got plenty of days left to vote where you only have one day during the election. So, come out and do the early voting.”
Whatever their reasons may be, voters have been hitting the Civic Center to cast their ballots early since July 7th. While candidates manning the sidewalks outside say there has been a steady stream of voters, turnout has been low to medium, by their estimates.
“Voter turnout on Thursday and Friday was pretty good. Over the weekend it lagged, but this morning there have been more voters out,” said Republican incumbent candidate for Wicomico County State’s Attorney, Jamie Dykes. “Your vote matters. There will be lines – there are always lines on election days. You can avoid that by getting in here this week through Thursday.”
Democratic candidate for State Senate district 38, Michele Gregory, says she thinks there are a few reasons why that is. “Turnout has been low for a number of reasons. But, the postponement of the primary because of everything going on with redistricting, I think, is a huge factor in that,” she said. “There’s no line. If you’re going to come out and vote for the primary, this is the place to do it right now. It’s really easy to get in and out. You’re in and out in five minutes.”
And while candidates could be seen trying to win voters’ choice outside the Civic Center Monday morning, they say voters have also been asking questions about how they can get their ballots in early. However, she encourages voters to cast their ballots, even if they have those questions.
“I’ve had many citizens ask me if they’ve requested an absentee ballot, if they can still go in and vote if they decide not to use their absentee ballot,” said Republican candidate for State House district 37B, Nicole Acle. “This is one of the most important things we can do as citizens. This is how we have a voice in our government, is by voting.”
Candidates say they’re hoping for a bigger turnout as Primary Election Day gets closer. “Saturday it rained a little bit, so there were not many people. Even yesterday was slow. But, today it’s been pretty good. We had like two or 300 people yesterday. I’m sure we’ve already exceeded that today,” said Leonard Arvi, candidate for Wicomico County Board of Education district 3. “Voting is a privilege and a Democratic right. I think everybody should exercise their civic duty. I’m grateful for this country. Please come out and vote.”
Early voting ends this Thursday, July 14th. After that, voters will have to wait until the Primary Election Day on July 19th. Voters arriving at their polling places can expect to check in with an elections worker, who will direct them to their voting booth or machine. The Primary Election selects the final candidates for the Gubernatorial General Election on November 8th.