Early voting in Maryland began Thursday, and city election officials reported there were long lines, as much as a two-hour wait at some polls.
Registered voters have eight days, from Thursday, Oct. 27 to Thursday, Nov. 3 to cast their ballots early. Voting polls in Baltimore will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the early voting period, including the weekend.
Even voters who missed the Oct. 18 voter registration deadline will be able to register and vote on site at the six early voting polls in Baltimore. In order to do so, voters are required to bring proof of residency, such as a driver’s license, utility bill or a government issued identification card.
Many college students are taking advantage of the early voting opportunity because many of them will be voting for the first time, especially in a presidential election.
Morgan State University student, Rita Omekam, 20, is one of them. “I definitely plan to vote early. I know my vote counts and all of the sites set up near campus and throughout Baltimore make it so convenient. There’s really no excuse,” said the junior nursing major.
People are strongly encouraged to vote early. Ray Baker, communications director for AFT-Maryland, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, said early voting is a necessity.
“The two main reasons folks are encouraged to get out and early vote are accessibility and to decrease voting irregularity,” said Baker.
“On General Election Day, the lines are typically overwhelming and many people miss their opportunity to vote. Early voting ensures voters a chance to vote and for that vote to be counted,” Baker continued.
Another Morgan State student, Kiarra Jenifer, 21, said she is eager to vote this year.
“I’m glad they have multiple early voting sites close to campus. I may be only one person but every vote counts. I’m also rounding up some friends so we can all go vote as everyone else should as well.”
Voters have another opportunity to vote early by absentee ballot. The absentee ballot request deadline is Friday, Nov. 4 at 5p.m.
The six early voting sites in Baltimore City are:
1) Public Safety Training Center
3500 W. Northern Parkway (Enter on Manhattan Ave)
Baltimore MD 21215
2) Southeast Anchor Library
3601 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore MD 21224
3) Maritime Industries Academy School #431
5001 Sinclair Lane (Rear entrance) (Enter on Truesdale Ave)
Baltimore, Maryland 21206
4) The League for People with Disabilities
1111 E. Coldspring Lane
Baltimore MD 21239
5) Westside Skill Center
4501 Edmondson Avenue (Enter on Athol Ave)
Baltimore MD 21229
6) University of Maryland at Baltimore – Community Engagement Center