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Maryland's early voting starts Sept. 3

August 25, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Maryland will have early voting before an election for the first time this year.

Early voting is a period before an election day when people can vote. In Maryland, it will be every day from Sept. 3 to 9 (including Labor Day), minus Sept. 5. The primary will be Sept. 14.

Washington County will have one early-voting site: the PNC Bank Building, 128 W. Washington St., Hagerstown.

Voting will be the same as it would be on Election Day.

Using a touchscreen system, voters can make their picks, review them and change them before they cast their ballots.

People enrolled in a political party can vote in that party's primary.

All Washington County voters, including those not affiliated with a party, can vote in the school board race.

Early voting also will be in place before the Nov. 2 general election.

Maryland has tried before to start early voting. However, in 2006, the state's Court of Appeals struck the measure down as unconstitutional.

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Jared DeMarinis, the Maryland State Board of Elections' director of candidacy and campaign finance, said the previous attempt at early voting would have allowed people to vote anywhere in the state. Now, they must vote in their local precinct.

In 2008, the state constitution was amended to allow early voting. This is the first year it will happen in Maryland.

West Virginia has had early voting since 2002.

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said early voting in West Virginia usually is allowed for 15 days out of a 20-day period before an election.

Most counties hold early voting at the county courthouse.

In 2008, the Secretary of State's office reported that about 13 percent of West Virginians who were registered and about 22 percent of those who voted cast their ballots during the early-voting period.

Tennant did not immediately have more recent figures, but said early voting becomes more popular every year.

She said state law requires that early votes be safely secured until they are counted after the polls close on Election Day.

Wednesday was the last day of early voting in West Virginia before Saturday's special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat that became vacant when Robert C. Byrd died. Early voting was allowed for five days for the special election.

Pennsylvania does not have early voting.

When and where to vote



In Washington County, early voting before the Sept. 14 primary will be held Sept. 3 to 9 (including Labor Day), except for Sept. 5.

It will be at the PNC Bank Building, 128 W. Washington St., Hagerstown.

The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Anyone in line at 8 p.m. may vote.

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