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Turnout low for early voting in Washington County

September 07, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Stephen Jordan of Hagerstown casts his early vote Monday at the former PNC Bank on West Washington Street in Hagerstown.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Turnout for early voting in Washington County has been low, but election officials said they think the rate will increase as residents become familiar with the new service.

While people were enjoying the Labor Day holiday Monday, election workers were open for business at the PNC Bank Building at 128 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown.

Early voting is being offered for the first time in Maryland this year, and as of about 5 p.m. Monday, voting for the day at the West Washington Street location stood at 123 people, election officials said.

Early voting began Friday, when 160 people voted at the PNC Bank Building, voting officials said. Another 60 people voted there Saturday, voting officials said.

Early voting will continue through Thursday. The primary election is Sept. 14.

Voting officials said they think voter turnout was higher Friday because people were working downtown.

Although the rate of voting was considered low, voting officials were not concerned.

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"It's the first time. We figure it will pick up with successive elections," elections Chief Judge Bruce Field said.

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

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

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

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

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

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